The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.
(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.
|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.||1|
They took a last look at the spots which were hallowed by association
Emigrants’ wagon crossing a stream
Carried the ship by the board after a terrible hand-to-hand conflict
“Do you think dar is any Angler-Saxun blood in dese veins?”
Fulton’s Clermont, the first steamboat
As near perfection as a girl of sixteen can be
That smile and that eternal stare disconcerted the British officer
“You surrender easily,”
He sat down on a broken mast
The boatswain’s mate brought the terrible scourge hissing and crackling on the young and tender back
He saw Captain Bones and his lieutenant trying to hide behind a barrel
It soon became evident that he did not intend to drown her
John C. Calhoun
“Lave it all to me”
“My brave Kentucky lads, to us is accorded the honor of winning this battle. Forward!”
They came together in an earnest struggle
“My father will protect me; I want no other protection”
Sukey’s thumb lifted the hammer of his gun
Packenham fell bleeding and dying in the arms of Sir Duncan McDougal
Map of the period
THE YOUNG EMIGRANT.
The first recollections of Fernando Stevens, the hero of this romance, were of “moving.” He was sitting on his mother’s knee. How long he had been sitting there he did not know, nor did he know how he came there; but he knew that it was his mother and that they were in a great covered wagon, and that he had a sister and brother, older than himself, in the wagon. The wagon was filled with household effects, which he seemed to know belonged to that mother on whose knee he sat and that father who was sitting on the box driving the horses which pulled the wagon. Fernando Stevens was never exactly certain as to his age at the time of this experience; but he could not have been past three, and perhaps not more than two years old, when he thus found himself with his father’s family and all their effects in a wagon going somewhere.
He knew not from whence they came, nor did he know whither they were going. It was pleasant to sit on his mother’s knee and with his great blue eyes watch those monster horses jogging along dragging after them the great world, which in his limited comprehension was all the world he knew,—the covered wagon. Suddenly some bright, revolving object attracted his attention, and he fixed his eyes on it. It was the wagon tire, and he saw it crushing and killing the grass at the side of the road, or rolling and flattening down the dust in long streaks.
Then they descended a hill. It was not a long hill, but seemed rather steep. There was water at the bottom. He remembered seeing the bright, sparkling wavelets and never forgot the impression they produced. There was a boat at the bottom of the hill, and the wagon and horses were driven into the boat. A man and boy began propelling the long sweeps or oars. He watched the proceeding in infantile wonder and especially remembered how the water dropped in sparkling crystals from the oar blades. The boy had on a red cap or fez with a tassel. That boy, that cap and that oar with the sparkling dripping water from the blade were to him the brightest pictures and greatest wonders he had ever known.
He had not the least idea why the man and boy dipped those oars into the water and pulled them out all dripping and pretty, unless it was to amuse him. The oars were painted blue. He did not know where they were going, or when this journey would end, or that it was a journey.
Thus Fernando Stevens began life. This was the first page in his existence that he could recollect. In after years he knew he was Fernando Stevens, that his father was Albert Stevens, a soldier in the War of the Revolution, that his kind, sweet-faced mother was Estella Stevens, and that the very first experience he could remember was that of the family emigrating to the great Ohio valley.
Albert Stevens was married shortly after the close of the Revolutionary War, and he tried hard to succeed in New England; but he had no trade and no profession, and the best lands in the country were bought. Seven years of his early life, with all his dawning manhood had been spent in the army, and now with his family of three children he found himself poor. Congress had made a treaty with the Indians by which the vast territory of the Ohio valley was thrown open to white settlers, and he resolved to emigrate to where land was cheap, purchase a home and grow up with the country.
Resolved to emigrate, the father collected his little property and provided himself with a wagon and four horses, some cows, a rifle, a shot-gun and an axe. His trusty dog became the companion of his journey. In his wagon he placed his bedding, his provisions and such cooking utensils as were indispensable. Everything being ready, his wife and the three children took their seats, Fernando, the youngest, on his mother’s knee; while the father of the family mounted the box. The horses were started and the great vehicle began to move. As they passed through the village which had been to them the scene of many happy hours, they took a last look at the spots which were hallowed by association—the church with its lowly spire, an emblem of that humility which befits a Christian, and the burial-ground, where the weeping willow bent mournfully over the head-stone which marked the graves of their parents. The children, who were old enough to remember, never forgot their playground, nor the white schoolhouse where the rudiments of an education were instilled into their minds.
Their road was at first, comparatively smooth and their journey pleasant. Their progress was interrupted by divers little incidents; while the continual changes in the appearance of the country around them, and the anticipation of what was to come, prevented those feelings of despondency, which might otherwise have arisen on leaving a much loved home. When the roads became bad or hilly, the family quit the wagon and trudged along on foot, the mother carrying the baby Fernando in her arms. At sunset, their day’s journey finished, they halted in the forest by the roadside to prepare their supper and pass the night. The horses were unharnessed, watered and secured with their heads to the trough until they had eaten their meagre allowance of corn and oats, and then were hobbled out to grass. Over the camp fire the mother prepared the frugal supper, which being over, the emigrants arranged themselves for the night, while the faithful dog kept watch. Amid all the privations and vicissitudes in their journey, they were cheered by the consciousness that each day lessened the distance between them and the land of promise, whose fertile soil was to recompense them for all their trials and hardships.
Gradually, as they advanced west, the roads became more and more rough and were only passable in many places by logs having been placed side by side, forming what was termed corduroy roads. The axe and rifle of the emigrant, or mover as he is still termed in the west, were brought daily and almost hourly into use. With the former he cut saplings, or small trees, to throw across the roads, which, in many places, were almost impassable; while with his rifle he killed squirrels, wild turkeys, or such game as the forest afforded, for their provisions were in a few days exhausted. If, perchance, a buck crossed his path, and he brought it down by a lucky shot, it was carefully dressed and hung up in the forks of the trees; fires were built, and the meat cut into small strips and smoked and dried for future subsistence.
As they advanced, the road through the woods became more difficult to travel, the trees being merely felled and drawn aside, so as to permit a wheeled carriage to pass; and the emigrant was often obliged to be guided in his route only by the blaze of the surveyor on the trees, and at every few rods to cut away the branches which obstructed his passage. As the stroke of the axe reverberated through the woods, no answer came back to assure him of the presence of friend or foe. At night in these solitudes, they heard the wolves stealing through the gloom, sniffing the scent of the intruders; and now and then, then bloodshot eyes of the catamount glared through the foliage.
Days, weeks and months passed in this toilsome journey through the wilderness, so indelibly impressing it on the memory of Fernando Stevens, that he never, to his dying day, forgot that journey. At last they arrived at the landmarks which, to Albert Stevens, indicated the proximity of his possessions. A location for the cabin was selected near a small stream of running water, on the south side of a slight elevation.
No time was lost. The trees were immediately felled, and in a short time Fernando, looking out from the covered wagon, perceived a clear space of ground of but few rods in circumference. Stakes, forked at the top, were driven into the ground, on which the father placed logs, and the chinks between these were stopped with clay. An enclosure was thus hastily thrown up to protect the family from the weather, and the wife and children were removed to this improvised abode. The trunks of the trees were rolled to the edge of the clearing, and surmounted by stakes driven crosswise into the ground: the severed tops and branches of trees piled on top of the logs, thus forming a brush fence. By degrees the surrounding trees were “girdled” and killed. Those that would split were cut down and made into rails, while others were left to rot or logged up and burned.
A year showed a great improvement in the pioneer’s home. Several acres had been added to the clearing, and the place began to assume the appearance of a farm. The temporary shanty had given place to a comfortable log cabin; and although the chimney was built of small sticks placed one on the other, and filled in between with clay, occupying almost one whole end of the cabin, it showed that the inward man was duly attended to; and the savory fumes of venison, of the prairie hen and other good things went far to prove that even backwoods life was not without its comforts. [Footnote: The author has often heard his mother say that the most enjoyable period of her life was in a pioneer home similar to the above.]
In a few months, the retired cabin, once so solitary, became the nucleus of a little settlement. Other sections and quarter sections of land were entered at the land office by new corners. New portions of ground were cleared, cabins were erected; and in a short time the settlement could turn out a dozen efficient hands for house raising or log rolling. A saw mill soon after was erected at the falls of the creek; the log huts received a poplar weather boarding, and, as the little settlement increased, other improvements appeared; a mail line was established, and before many years elapsed, a fine road was completed to the nearest town, and a stage coach, which ran once, then twice a week, connected the settlement with the populous country to the east of it.
This was the life the hero of this story began. It might be said to be an unromantic life; yet such a life was known to many of our American ancestors. It had its pleasures as well as its pains. It had its poetry as well as its prose, and its joys as well as its sorrows. The vastness of the forest and depths of the solitude by which he was surrounded, made its impress on his mind. He grew up in ignorance of tyranny and many of the evils of the great cities.
The cabin home and the narrow clearing about it formed his playground. His first toy was a half-bushel measure, which he called his “bushee!” This he rolled before him around the log cabin and the paths made in the tall grass, frequently to the dread of his mother, who feared that he might encounter some of the deadly serpents with which the forest abounded. He remembered on one occasion, when his mother found him going too far, she called:
“Come back, Fernando; mother is afraid you will step on a snake.”
He looked about him with the confidence of childhood, and answered:
“No ’nakes here.”
Just at that moment, the mother, to her horror, saw a deadly reptile coiled in the very path along which the child was rolling his “bushee,” and with true frontier woman’s pluck, ran and snatched up the bare-footed Fernando, when only within two feet of the deadly serpent, carried him to the house, and with the stout staff assailed and killed the rattlesnake.
He remembered seeing the wild deer bound past the cabin door, and one day his father killed one. The big dog called “Bob,” on account of the shortness of his caudal appendage, on another occasion leaped on a wild buck as he was passing the house, and seized the animal, holding it until it was slain. Wild turkeys were common; he saw them in great flocks in the woods, and did not suppose they could ever become extinct.
Fernando never forgot his first pair of shoes. He had grown to be quite a lad, and his bare feet had trod the paths in the forest, and over the prairies in summer and late in autumn, until they had become hardened. In winter his mother had made him moccasins out of deer skins; but he was at last informed that he was going to have a pair of shoes, such as he had seen some children from the eastern States wear. His joy at this intelligence knew no bounds. He dreamed of those shoes at night, and they formed the theme of his conversation by day. His sister, who was the oldest of the children, had been the happy possessor of three pairs of shoes, and she often discussed knowingly the good qualities of pedal coverings and of their advantages in travelling through brambles or over stones. Often as he contemplated his scratched, chapped and bruised feet, the child had asked himself if it were possible that he should ever be able to afford such a luxury as a real pair of shoes.
Money was scarce, luxuries scarcer. The frontier people lived hard, worked hard, slept sound, and enjoyed excellent health.
Though little Fernando had never owned a real pair of shoes in his life, so far as he could remember, he possessed a strong mind and body, and no prince was his superior. He had, as yet, never been to school a day, but from the great book of nature he had imbibed sublimity and loftiness of thought, which only painters and poets feel.
Though he was shoeless, he was inspired with lofty ideas of freedom such as many reared in cities never dream about. The father had to make a long journey to some far-away place for the shoes. The day before starting all the children were made to put their feet on the floor, while the parents measured them with strings, and tied knots to indicate the size of shoes to be purchased. At last the measures were obtained, and the father put them in the pocket of his buckskin hunting jacket. Then he harnessed
At last the joyous shout of the older children announced the approach of the wagon. They ran down the road to meet it. The horses jogged along with the wagon, which rolled and jolted over the ground to the house. The wagon was unloaded. There were bags of meal and flour, coffee and tea, and then came the calico and cotton goods, jugs of molasses and a barrel of sugar. The shoes were in a box and finally brought out.
A great disappointment was in store for Fernando. His shoes were too small. The father had lost the string and purchased the shoes “by guess.” Fernando tried hard to squeeze his foot into the little green coverings; but they were so small and there was danger of bursting them. Father had to go back to the land office in a day or two and would exchange them. He rode off on the white mare, “old Betts,” and on his return had a pair of shoes large enough for Fernando.
They were awkward at first and cramped, pinched and galled his feet. His mother made him a suit of clothes of “blue drilling” and next Sabbath the whole family got into the wagon and drove off eight miles to Bear Creek to “meeting.”
The people of the west were as thorough a combination and mixture of all nations, characters, languages, conditions and opinions as can well be imagined. Scarcely a nation in Europe, or a State in the union, that did not furnish emigrants for the great west. The greater mass from Europe were of the humble classes, who came from hunger, poverty and oppression. They found themselves here with the joy of shipwrecked mariners cast on the untenanted woods, and instantly became cheered with the hope of being able to build up a family and a fortune from new elements.
The Puritan and the planter, the German, the Briton, the Frenchman, the Irishman and the Swede, each with his peculiar prejudices and local attachments, and all the complicated and interwoven tissue of sentiments, feelings and thoughts, that country, kindred and home, indelibly combined with the web of youthful existence, settled down beside each other. The merchant, mechanic and farmer found themselves placed by necessity in the same society. Men must cleave to their kind and must be dependent upon each other. Pride and jealousy give way to the natural yearnings of the human heart for society. They began to rub off mutual prejudices. One took a step and then the other. They met half way and embraced; and the society thus newly organized and constituted was more liberal, enlarged, unprejudiced, and of course more affectionate and pleasant than a society of people of like birth and character, who would bring all their early prejudices as a common stock, to be transmitted as an inheritance to posterity.
Depending only on God and nature, the simple backwoodsman came to regard God as his only master and, like the Swiss patriot, would bow his knee to none other. Men were left free to adopt such religious views and tenets as they chose, and the generous laws protected every man alike in his religious opinions. Ministers of the gospel and priests, being presumed to be devoted to humanity, charity and general benevolence, were precluded by many State constitutions from any participation in the legislative authority, and their compensation depended wholly upon the voluntary aid of those among whom they labored in charity and love. In the wide district where the Stevens lived, the country was too sparsely settled to support a stationed minister, and “preaching” was a luxury. Unsustained by the rigid precepts of law in any privileges, perquisites, fixed revenue, prescribed by reverence or authority, except such as was voluntarily acknowledged, the clergy found that success depended upon the due cultivation of popular talents. Zeal for the great cause mixed, perhaps, with a spice of earthly ambition, the innate sense of emulation and laudable pride, a desire of distinction among their cotemporaries and brethren, prompted them to seek popularity, and to study all the arts and means of winning the popular favor.
Travelling from month to month through dark forests, with such ample time for deep thought, as they ambled slowly along the lonesome horse path or unfrequented roads, they naturally acquired a pensive and romantic turn of thought and expression, which is often favorable to eloquence. Hence their preaching was of the highly popular cast, such as immortalized Peter Cartwright. The first aim was to excite the ministers; hence, too, excitement, or, in religious parlance, “awakenings,” or “revivals” became common. Living remote from each other, and spending much of their time in domestic solitude in vast forests or wide spreading prairies, the “appointment” for preaching was looked upon as a gala-day, or a pleasing change, which brought together the auditors from remote points, and gratified a feeling of curiosity, which prompted the pioneers to associate and interchange cordial congratulations.
As yet no meeting house had been erected in all the region where the Stevens lived. The meeting on Bear Creek was at the home of Mr. Moore, who was the happy possessor of a “double log cabin.” One cabin or room was cleared of furniture, and sawn boards, placed on sticks of wood on end, furnished the seats. These were occupied and the “entry” between the cabins was filled by children. The preacher, who was also chorister, took his position near the door so as to accommodate those without as well as those within. He opened his saddle-bags and, pushing back his soiled linen, took out his bible and hymn-book and, proceeding to “line a hymn,” “started it” himself, the congregation all joining.
Fernando Stevens had heard from his sister about these wonderful meetings; but he had never dreamed that a score of voices could raise such an uproar, and he ceased admiring his new shoes, while he fixed his eyes in terror on the capacious mouth of a pious old man, who, in his fervent zeal, was singing with all his might. As he sounded forth each resonant note, louder than the preceding, his mouth opened wider and wider, until Fernando took alarm and climbed upon his father’s knee.
At this critical moment, there came on the air a cracking sound, and one of the boards which served the purpose of a pew broke in the centre and came down with a crash, precipitating nearly half a score of buxom, screaming girls into a promiscuous heap upon the floor. This was too much for Fernando. He could not but attribute the disaster to the wide-mouthed singer, and he screamed so lustily in his fright, that his father took him from the house to calm his fears.
Fernando’s first experience at “meeting” was not very encouraging; but he did not despair. Soon after their return home he heard the family begin to speak of the “camp-meeting,” and learned that one was to be held at the head waters of Bear Creek, not far from the home of Mr. Moore, and that the family was going.
On the appointed day they took their places in the wagon and started for the camp ground. Notice of the camp-meeting had been circulated for several weeks or months, and all were eager to attend. The country for fifty miles around was excited with the cheerful anticipation of the approaching festival of religious feeling and social friendship. When the Stevenses arrived on the grounds, wagons and carts, coaches and old family chaises, people on horseback and on foot, in multitudes, with provision wagons, tents, mattresses, household implements and cooking utensils, were seen hurrying from every direction toward the central point. The camp was in the midst of a grove of beautiful, lofty, umbrageous trees, natural to the western country, clothed in their deepest verdure, and near a sparkling stream, which supplied the host with fresh water. White tents started up in the grove, and soon a sylvan village sprang up as if by magic. The tents and booths were pitched in a semi-circle, or in a four-sided parallelogram, inclosing an area of two acres or more, for the arrangement of seats and aisles around a rude pulpit and altar for the thronging multitude, all eager to hear the heavenly messenger.
Fernando beheld all in a maze of wonder, and half believed this was that Heaven of which his mother had told him so much. He half expected to see the skies open and the son of God descend in all his glory. Toward night, the hour of solemn service approached, and the vast sylvan bower of the deep umbrageous forest was illuminated by numerous lamps suspended around the line of tents which encircled the public area and beside the rustic altars distributed over the same, which sent forth a glare of light from the fagot fires upon the worshipping throng, and the majestic forest with an imposing effect, which elevated the soul to fit converse with its creator, God.
The scenery of the most brilliant theatre of the world was only a painting for children compared with this. Meantime, the multitude, with the highest excitement of social feeling, added to the general enthusiasm of expectation, was passing from tent to tent interchanging apostolic greetings and embraces, while they talked of the approaching solemnities. A few minutes sufficed to finish the evening’s repast, when the moon (for they had taken thought to appoint the meeting at the time of the full moon) began to show its disc above the dark summits of the distant mountains, while a few stars were seen glimmering in the west. Then the service began. The whole constituted a temple worthy of the grandeur of God. An old man in a dress of the quaintest simplicity ascended a platform, wiped the dust from his spectacles, and, in a voice of suppressed emotion “lined the hymn,” of which that vast multitude could recite the words, to be sung with an air in which every voice could join. Every heart capable of feeling thrilled with emotion as that song swelled forth, “Like the sound of many waters, echoing among the hills and mountains.” The service proceeded. The hoary-haired orator talked of God, of eternity, of a judgment to come and all that is impressive beyond. He spoke of his experiences and toils, his travels, his persecutions and triumphs, and how many he had seen in hope, in peace and triumph gathered to their fathers. When he spoke of the short space that remained for him, his only regret was that he could no longer proclaim, in the silence of death, the unsearchable riches and mercies of his crucified Redeemer.
No wonder, as the speaker paused to dash the gathering moisture from his own eye, his audience was dissolved in tears, or uttered exclamations of penitence. Many who prided themselves on an estimation of a higher intellect and a nobler insensibility than the crowd caught the infection, and wept, while the others, “who came to mock remained to pray.”
In due time a schoolhouse was erected on the banks of the creek a mile away from the house of Albert Stevens. Fernando was sent with the older children. Mrs. Creswell the teacher had no end of trouble with the little fellow, whose ideas of liberty were inconsistent with discipline, and who insisted on reclining on the floor instead of sitting on a bench. He became hungry and despite the fact that his preceptress had forbidden “talking out loud” declared that he wanted something to eat.
“Wait a bit,” answered the teacher. “We will have recess by and by.”
“Is recess something to eat?” he asked.
This question produced a titter, and the insubordinate youngster was again told he must not talk. After awhile he became accustomed to school and liked it. He grew older and learned his letters. It was a tedious task, the most difficult of which was to distinguish “N” from “U,” but he finally mastered them, and his education, he supposed, was complete. After two or three years, he learned to read. His father on one of his journeys to town brought to their forest home some excellent books, with bright, beautiful pictures. He was now nine years old, and could read with some difficulty. One of his books was a story about a man being wrecked on an island, and having saved a black man named Friday from death by savages. Fernando never tired of this wonderful book, and, in his eagerness for the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, learned to read well without knowing it.
From reading one book, he came to read others, and lofty, ambitious thoughts took possession of his soul. His mind, uncontaminated or dwarfed by the sins of civilization, early began to reach out for high and noble ideas.
His father had been a captain in the continental army, and had travelled all over the Atlantic States during the war for independence. He told his children many stories of those dark days and sought early to instil in their young minds a love for their country, urging them ever to sustain its honor and its flag.
Fernando Stevens, even early in childhood, became a patriot. He could be nothing more nor less than a patriot and lover of freedom with such training, and growing up in such an atmosphere. With the bitter wrongs of George III. rankling in his heart, he came to despise all forms of monarchy, and to hate “redcoats.” The cruelties of Cornwallis, Tarleton, Rawdon, Tryon and Butler were still in the minds of the people, and the boy, as he gazed on his father’s sword hanging on the cabin wall, often declared he would some day take it and avenge the wrongs done in years gone by.
Years passed on, and Fernando, in his quiet home in the West, grew to be a strong, healthy lad, with a constantly expanding mind.
It was early on the morning of June 13, 1796, just twenty years after the Declaration of Independence, that Captain Felix Lane, of the good ship Ocean Star, was on his voyage from Rio to Baltimore with a cargo of coffee. The morning was specially bright, and the captain, as brave a man as ever paced a quarter deck, was in the best of spirits, for he expected soon to be home. He had no wife and children to greet him on his return, for Lane was a bachelor. He had served on board a privateer during the War of the Revolution and had done as much damage as any man on salt water to English merchantmen. Like most brave men, Captain Lane had a generous soul, a kind heart, and there was not a man aboard his vessel who would not have died for him. He preserved perfect discipline and respect through love rather than fear, for he was never known to be harsh with any of his crew.
No one knew why the captain had never married. His first mate, who had sailed under him four years, had never dared broach him on the subject of matrimony. There was a story—a mere rumor—perhaps without the slightest foundation, of Felix Lane, when a poor sailor boy, loving the daughter of an English merchant at Portsmouth, England. The mate got the story from a gossipy old English sailor, who claimed to know all about it, but whose fondness for spinning yarns brought discredit on his veracity. According to the old sailor’s account, the fair English maid’s name was Mary. Her father was one of the wealthiest merchants in the city; and one day when Lane was only nineteen he met Mary. Her beauty captivated him and inspired him to a nobler life. Mary loved the young sailor; but it was the old story of the penniless lover and cruel parent. The sailor was forcibly expelled from the house and sailed to America, with a heart full of revenge and ambition.
He arrived just after the battle of Lexington, and soon shipped aboard a privateer. Again it was the old story of a rash lover laughing at death, seeking the grim monster who seemed to avoid him. His ship was so successful, that in a short time each of the crew was rich from prize money. Four years and a half of war found Felix Lane commander of the most daring privateer on the ocean. He was already wealthy and continued by fresh prizes to add to his immense fortune. The merchant marine of Great Britain dreaded his ship, the Sea Rover, more than the whole American navy. Lane was one of the most expert seamen on the ocean, and might have had a high office in the regular navy, had he not found this semi-piratical business more lucrative.
One day his vessel sighted a large merchantman, off the coast of Spain, and engaged it in a terrible conflict. The merchantman carried twice as many people and heavier guns than the Sea Rover; but by the skilful management of his ship Captain Lane continued to rake her fore and aft until she was forced to strike her colors. When the conqueror went aboard, he found the splintered deck a scene of horror. Cordage, shrouds, broken spars and dead and dying men strewed the deck. Near the gangway was a middle-aged man holding in his arms a girl mortally wounded in the conflict. He recognized her in a moment, and the scene which followed tried all the powers of the old yarn-spinner’s descriptive faculties. He held her in his arms and wept and prayed until her life was extinct. It was said that she recognized him and that she died with a sweet smile on her face, pointing upward to a place of reunion. The father, who had survived the conflict, was released, and Captain Felix continued his career a sadder and better man.
Whether this story was true or not, no one can at this day tell, for Jack tars are proverbial yarn-spinners, and seek more after romance than truth. One thing is quite certain, though, Captain Lane was still a bachelor, and had resisted all the advances of beautiful women, until no one doubted that he would end his days a bachelor.
On this bright June morning a sail was descried S.S.E., and there immediately sprang up a little conversation between master and mate as to the probable character of the ship.
“Perchance, captain, it’s a British cruiser,” suggested the mate.
“If it should be, we have no fears.”
“No, for the Ocean Star can show a pair of clean heels to anything afloat. These British have a habit of searching all vessels they can capture and impressing seamen.”
“It’s ugly business.”
“It will breed another storm.”
“I don’t think America will long submit.”
At this, the mate, whose temper was as fiery as his red hair, vowed:
“If they should board a ship of mine, I would give ’em lead and steel, until they would not care to search or impress any one.”
“They have no such right,” the captain answered, and his face grew very stern.
The vessel, whatever she was, did not cross their path, however, and in a few hours disappeared around some jutting headlands.
They had only left Rio the day before, and had very light winds. The land breeze lasted long enough to bring them by Santa Cruz, and their ship drifted along all day between Raza and the main. Toward night the sea-breeze came in fresh from the eastward, and they made four-hour tacks, intending to keep the northern shore quite close aboard, and to take their departure from Cape Frio. The night was very clear, and at eight bells they tacked ship to the northward, heading about N.N.E.; Raza lights could just be discerned, bearing about West. Captain Lane had come on deck, as was his custom, to “stay” the brig, and, finding everything looking right, was about to go below, when the man on the lookout cried:
“Where away?” demanded the Captain.
“Two points off the lee bow.”
The captain walked forward to the forecastle, from where he descried what appeared to be a large square-rigged vessel standing directly for them, with her port-tacks aboard. This seemed strange to the captain, as he knew of no vessel which had left Rio, except one several days previous, and she should have been far on her voyage by this time.
The stranger approached very rapidly, carrying a press of canvas, and “lying over” to it in fine style. In a short time the stranger was almost within speaking distance, and Captain Lane made her out to be a large heavily-sparred clipper brig. A collision seemed inevitable, if she held her course. The Ocean Star was a little to windward of the stranger with the starboard tacks aboard, and Captain Lane knew it was the stranger’s duty to “bear up” and keep away. He jumped for his speaking trumpet and hailed:
No answer; and the mysterious vessel came booming right on for them with fearful speed.
“Brig ahoy!” shouted the captain again. “Hard up your helm, or you will be into me!”
Still no answer; and, jumping to the wheel, the captain jammed it down, and they came up flying into the wind. Leaving the wheel to the frightened seaman, he sprang into the port rail, to see where the stranger would strike them. As he did so, that mysterious craft flew by, and the whole sea seemed lighted up by a strange illumination. It was like a terrible dream—so wild, so supernatural and unearthly. As Captain Lane stood by the port rail, he saw right under his quarter, a large, low, black brig, with her decks crowded with men, and guns protruding from her ports; while on the weather rail, clinging with one hand to the shrouds, stood a strange, demoniacal-looking figure, holding in his outstretched hand, above the water, a burning blue light. On the quarter-deck a little knot of men seemed standing, a short distance apart from them was a strikingly handsome man, who, from his air of superiority, Lane at once knew to be the commander. His perfectly poised and graceful attitude, and thorough composure, as he removed a cigar from his mouth and motioned an order to the helmsman, struck the beholder as wonderful.
In an instant the whole thing flashed upon the captain—he was a pirate! He had run under the stern of the brig and burned a blue light to read the name of the vessel, and see if the bird was worth plucking.
Captain Lane’s decision was instantaneous. He knew that the white feather never helped one out with such fellows. It was all the work of an instant. The stranger ran a couple of lengths astern the Ocean Star, swung his main-yard aback and hailed; but while the bold buccaneer was doing this, Captain Lane had performed an equally sea-manlike manoeuvre. He caught his sails aback, and his vessel having stern way, he shifted his helm, backed her round, and, filling away on the other tack, stood directly for the pirate.
It was the stranger’s time to hail now. The Ocean Star was a sharp, strong, fast-sailing vessel, and was under good headway and perfect control. Captain Lane then acted hurriedly, but with precision, giving his orders to his mate and helmsman, and, seizing the cabin lantern and his speaking trumpet, he jumped upon the topgallant forecastle, and, holding up his lamp, made the master mason’s “hailing sign of distress.” He then hailed through his trumpet, in quick, determined syllables:
“Brig ahoy! Unless you swear as a man or as a Mason that you will not molest me, as true as there is a God, we will sink together!”
Quick as thought, the answer came back through the trumpet, clear and distinct:
“I swear as a Mason! Hard up your helm!”
“Hard up your helm!” the captain shouted aft, and, paying off like a bird, the Ocean Star swept by the stranger’s stern near enough to almost touch her. As they went sailing past her, it became Captain Lane’s turn to bend forward with a lantern, and ascertain who his new acquaintance was. There, painted in blood-red letters on the black stern, was the name
He had scarce read it, when the same clear tones, more subdued, hailed him, as he thought, with somewhat of kindness:
“Captain, do me the favor to back your main-yard; I will come aboard of you—alone!”
The captain gave the necessary orders, and “hove to” within three or four cables’ length of the stranger; and in a very few minutes a four-oared boat, containing but a single figure besides the crew, was seen approaching the Ocean Star.
Captain Lane had a ladder put over the gangway and threw a rope to the boat as it came alongside; and the next moment the stranger sprang upon the deck of the Ocean Star.
With an easy grace he gave to the captain the quick, intelligible sign of the “great brotherhood” and, taking his arm familiarly, walked aft.
Captain Lane called the steward, sent for glasses and wine, and, as soon as they were placed upon the table, closed the cabin door, and found himself alone with his strange visitor.
The captain filled his glass and, sipping it in Spanish fashion, passed the decanter to the stranger. He followed his example, and after the usual interchange of courtesies addressed him:
“Captain, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“You are probably not aware of the true motive which induced me to heave you to?”
“I am not.”
“It is this: I wish you to take a passenger to the United States—a lady and her child. Now that I have seen you and feel acquainted with you, by our common ties, I feel a confidence in sending them by you, which I should never have felt, perhaps, with another. Will you take them? Any price shall be yours.”
“Yes; I will take them.”
“Thank you. I have a still further favor to ask. I wish to send to the States a sum of money to be invested in the lady’s name, and for her account. Will it be too much to ask you to attend to this? You may charge your own commission.”
“I will obey your wishes to the letter,” Captain Lane answered.
The stranger grasped his hand across the table and, with some emotion, added:
“If you will do this, and will place the lady and child where they may find a home, with the surroundings of Christian society, you will confer a favor upon me which money can never repay.”
Captain Lane looked at the man with astonishment, and for the first time gave him a glance that was thoroughly searching and critical.
He was apparently of about thirty-five years of age, a little above the medium height, with a broad forehead, over which fine, brown hair clustered in careless folds. He wore his beard and mustache long, the former extending to a point a few inches below the throat. His eyes were brown, large and full of expression, while in conversation, and a mild and melancholy smile occasionally stole over his features.
His manners and conversation betokened refinement; and, take him all in all, he was the last man one would have ever taken for a smuggler or a pirate.
Captain Lane became very much interested in him, and gradually their conversation took a wider range. In the midst of it and before they had fully completed their business arrangements in relation to the passengers, whom Captain Lane had engaged to convey to the United States, the mate knocked at the cabin door, and informed them that a heavy squall was rising to westward.
They hurried on deck, which no sooner had they reached, than the stranger, looking hastily in the quarter indicated, shook Captain Lane warmly by the hand saying:
“I must go aboard, captain; that will be a heavy squall. Keep me in sight if you can; but, if we part company, meet me off Cape Frio—this side of it—to-morrow; wait for me till night, if you do not see me before. Good-by!” and springing into his boat, he pulled away for his vessel.
Captain Lane never saw him again alive.
No sooner was he over the side, than the captain gave orders to shorten sail. He took in royals and topgallant sails, furled the courses, trysail and jib, and double-reefed the topsails. They braced the yards a little to starboard, hauled the foretopmast staysail sheet well aft, and the captain, thinking he had everything snug, stood looking over the weather rails, watching the approaching squall. The wind had almost died away, and the atmosphere seemed strangely oppressive. Captain Lane was an old sea-dog and had witnessed many strange phenomena on the ocean; but never had he seen a squall approach so singularly. It seemed to move very slowly—a great black cloud, which looked intensely luminous withal, and yet so dense and heavy, that an ordinary observer might have mistaken it for one of the ordinary rain squalls encountered in the tropics. Captain Lane consulted his barometer, and found it falling rapidly.
“Clew the topsails up!” shouted the captain to the mate. “All hands lay aloft and furl them!”
The order was quickly obeyed; and just as the sailors reached the deck, the squall struck them. It did not come as it was expected; it had worked up from the westward, but struck the Ocean Star dead from the South. In an instant they were over, nearly on their beam ends, and a heavy sea rushed over the lee-rail, filling the deck.
“Hard up your helm!” shouted the captain, and, springing aft, he found the helmsman jammed under the tiller, and the second mate vainly endeavoring to heave it up. Taking hold with him, by their united efforts they at last succeeded; and, after a moment’s suspense, the Ocean Star slowly wore off before the wind and, rising out of the water, shook herself like an affrighted spaniel and darted off with fearful speed before the hurricane.
Leaving orders to keep her “steady before it” the captain went forward to ascertain the extent of the damage they had sustained. It was now intensely dark, the rain falling in torrents, and lightning bolts striking the water all around them, accompanied by fearful and incessant peals of thunder. A human voice could not have been heard five paces away. The wind, which fairly roared through the shrouds, and the deluge of water upon the deck, were enough of themselves to drown any voice. By flashes of lightning, the captain soon ascertained that they were comparatively unharmed, and their spars were safe. Gathering his frightened crew and officers about him, he succeeded at length in freeing the decks of water by knocking out the ports on either side. They next sounded the pumps, and found three feet of water in the well. Immediately double pumps were rigged, and the steady clinking of brakes added to the noises and terror of the scene.
It was a fearful night, and Captain Lane prayed Heaven that he might never see such another.
About half an hour after the squall first struck them—the captain of the Ocean Star was standing with his two officers on the quarter-deck, “conning the vessel by the feel of the wind and rain,” keeping her dead before the gale—when there came a flash and a peal which made them cower almost to the decks.
“My God!” was the simultaneous exclamation of all. A long chain of lightning and a heavy ball of fire seemed to shoot from the sky, lighting up the whole sea, revealing, and at the same time striking, in its descent, a full-rigged brig, which, like themselves, was scudding before the gale under bare poles, a few cables’ length off their port beam. The next instant, a fearful explosion, heard loud above the roaring storm, shook the sea, a volume of flame and fire shot up in the air, and when they looked again for the vessel, in the flashes of lightning, it was nowhere to be seen.
As the morning broke, the gale abated, and settled into a light breeze from the eastward. They made all sail, and stood to the southward with the wind abeam, hoping to fall in with some survivors of the wreck.
Captain Lane changed his wet garments for something more comfortable, refreshed himself with a strong cup of coffee, and, taking his glass, sought the foretopsail yard. About seven bells, he thought he discovered some object in the water three or four points off the lee bow. Hailing the deck to keep off for it, he very soon made out fragments of a vessel—spars, water casks, pieces of deck and, as they came still nearer, a boat; but the captain, even from his lofty perch, could see no sign of any one in it.
Descending to the deck, he ordered a boat to be cleared away, and, running as near as he dared to the wreck, he backed his maintopsail and took a long and earnest survey with his glass.
All hands were watching with anxious eyes the expression on the captain’s face. He handed his glass to the mate, who carefully examined every fragment which appeared above water. The captain looked at the mate inquiringly; but neither said a word. The mate handed back the glass and shook his head sorrowfully.
Again the captain looked long and earnestly; the mate looked again, and again returned the glass:
“Poor fellows—we may as well fill away, sir!” he said sadly.
There was still considerable sea on, and the mere launching of a boat was attended with more than ordinary danger, added to which was that to be encountered from the broken spars and fragments of wreck drifting about. Captain Lane thought of all these dangers, and was about to give the order to “fill away the main-yard,” when something seemed to say to him:
“There is some one in that boat!”
This impression was so strong that he felt as if it would be murder to leave the spot without making a more minute search, and he ordered the boat to be lowered at once. Jumping into the stern sheets, four good oars well manned soon brought him within the little field of fragments, in the centre of which the boat was floating. No wonder none of the crew was left,—the water literally swarmed with sharks.
Standing in the bow with a boat hook, the captain warded off pieces of wreck and gradually made his way to the strange boat.
The sight there which met his eyes Captain Lane never forgot to his dying day. When bowed down with old age, and his feeble steps were tottering on the verge of the grave, that scene came to him as vividly as on that terrible day. Lying in the bottom of the boat was the burnt, blackened and bruised form of a man, which, with some difficulty, the captain recognized as the handsome stranger who had visited him on the previous evening. Clinging to him, with her arms clasped tightly around his mutilated form, a clasp which even death could not break, her fair face pressed close to his blackened features, was the lifeless body of the most beautiful woman Captain Lane had ever seen. The look of agony, of commiseration, of tenderness, of pity, of horror and despair, which was sealed upon, those lifeless features was beyond the powers of description; but the saddest spectacle of all was a child, a little girl about one year old, clinging frantically to the breast of her dead mother, and gazing silently at them in frightened wonder.
For years, Captain Lane’s eyes had not been dimmed with tears, but now the fountains of grief were opened up, and his cheeks were wet. He carefully entered the boat, felt of each cold body, laid his hand upon each silent heart, and waited in vain for an answering signal to his touch upon the pulse.
“It is all over,” he said, and sitting down in the stern sheets of the boat, he took the child in his arms and sent his men back for sheets and shot and palm and needle and prayer-book. “They shall have Christian burial,” declared the kind-hearted captain.
They went away and left him alone with the dead and the baby. The infant seemed to cling to him from that moment, and the Great Father above alone knows how strangely and rapidly those cords of love were cemented between the bluff, old bachelor sea-captain and the infant. That heart, which he had thought dead to all love since the awful day on board the English merchantman, when he saw the only being he ever loved dying, was suddenly thrilled by the tenderest emotions. Those sweet blue eyes were upturned to his face with a glance of imploring trust, and the captain cried:
“Yes, blow my eyes, if I don’t stand by you, little one, as long as there is a stitch of canvas left!”
The time was very short until his men returned. Wrapping the dead in one shroud and winding sheet, with heavy shot well secured at their feet, the captain put the little child’s lips to its mother’s, giving her an unconscious kiss, which caused the men to brush their rough sleeves across their weather-beaten eyes. Then, reading with a broken voice, the last service for the dead, the shroud was closed, and the opening waters received them and bore them away to their last resting place.
Jumping into his boat, with the little stranger nestling in his arms, Captain Lane was soon aboard the Ocean Star, and with a fair wind and sunny skies was once more homeward bound. The captain seemed loath to relinquish his little charge. There was a goat on the vessel which furnished milk, and the cook prepared some dainty food for the little stranger.
“What is her name, captain?” he asked, while feeding the hungry child. She was not old enough to know her name, and there was not found about her clothes or in the boat anything whatever by which her name could possibly be known, so she had to be rechristened. What name should he give her? He reflected a moment and then, remembering the name on the stern of that black, mysterious vessel, answered:
“Morgianna?” said the cook.
“Yes, Morgianna Lane! she is my adopted daughter.”
The cook smiled at the thought of bluff old Captain Lane the bachelor having an adopted daughter.
After the perils and excitements of such a night, it was not strange that Captain Lane slept long and soundly. He had good officers, and when he retired he gave them orders not to disturb him, unless absolutely necessary, until he should awake.
They obeyed the injunction to the letter, and on the following morning he was awakened by hearing one of the crew ask in an undertone of the steward.
“How is little Morgianna this morning?”
“Little Morgianna,” he said to himself; and then it all came back, and with it a strangely tender dream which had all night long haunted his slumbers. The captain rose hurriedly, dressed himself and inquired for the child, who had been resigned to the care of the cook. She was brought to him, a bright, cheerful little thing, just beginning to lisp unintelligible words. For a few days she missed her mother and wore a look of expectation on her infantile face, occasionally crying out; but anon this passed away, and she became cheerful and happy. The captain spent as much of his time with her as he could spare from his duties, and as he held the little creature on his knee, heard her gentle voice in baby accents, and felt her warm baby fingers on his cheek, a new emotion took possession of his heart. He loved little Morgianna dearly as a father might.
Before that voyage was over, Captain Lane resolved to abandon the sea and retire to his fine estate at Mariana, a village on the seashore not a score of miles from Baltimore. He kept his intentions a secret until the vessel was in port; then the merchants with whom he had been engaged in business for years, were astounded to learn that Captain Lane had made his last voyage. A nurse was engaged for little Morgianna and the great mansion house on the hill within a fourth of a mile of Mariana was fitted up for habitation. Servants were sent to the place, and the villagers were lost in wonder.
The gossips had food for conjecture for weeks, and many were the strange stories afloat. Some of the old dames thought the captain was going to be married after all. Then the young widows and ancient maidens who had heard much about Captain Lane, sighed and looked disconsolate. Every kind of a story but the truth was afloat.
When on one bright autumnal day, a carriage from Baltimore was seen to dash into the village and roll up the great drive, between the rows of poplars, it was whispered he had come. One who watched averred that only the captain and a child not over a year and a half old alighted from the coach. (The nurse came in another vehicle.) The child started another rumor. She was a mysterious, unknown factor, and the gossips bandied the captain’s name about in a reckless manner. Good old dames shook their heads knowingly and declared they had suspected the captain had a wife all the time in some far-off city.
“You kin never depend on these sea-captains!” Mrs. Hammond declared.
But despite all their conjectures, the captain lived in the old stone mansion house with his servants and Morgianna. A few weeks after his arrival, she was christened at the village church as Morgianna Lane, her parents not known.
Would wonders never cease? Bit by bit, the sensational story of Morgianna got out into the village, and she became the object of the greatest interest. Captain Lane adopted her, and when she became old enough to accompany him, he seldom went away without her. Morgianna loved the good old man, who, with all his rough seaman-like ways, was father and mother both to her.
Never had daughter a kinder or more indulgent father.
As years went on, Morgianna grew in beauty, intelligence, grace and goodness. Captain Lane was proud of her, and she was never so happy as when sitting on his knee listening to his yarns of the sea. Her own sad, dark story had never been told to her,—that was left for the future.
There is not a man of intelligence in America or Europe, who has not heard of the Democratic party in America, that great political organization which has been in existence almost, if not quite, one hundred years. Many who claim allegiance to this great party know little of its tenets, and still fewer know its history. There are orators on the stump, in the halls of Congress, writers for the press, all advocating “the glorious principles of Democracy,” who have never thoroughly acquainted themselves with its history. The Democratic party of to-day was originally known as the Republican party. The warm discussions on the national constitution engendered party spirit in the new republic, which speedily assumed definite forms and titles, first as Federalist and anti-Federalist, which names were changed to Federalist and Republican, or Democrat.
The Federalist party, headed by Alexander Hamilton, favored much concentration of power in a national government, but perhaps not more than we have to-day, and, in fact, not more than is really essential to the upbuilding of a stable republic like ours. There can be no question but that Washington held to the same views; but Washington was the only great man America ever produced who rose so far above political parties as to absorb them all. He has never been classed as belonging to either party. The Republican or Democratic party favored State sovereignty and the diffusion of power among the people.
The American people had had such bitter experiences with monarchs that they dreaded anything which savored of monarchy, and it was argued that a centralized government was but a step in that direction. On the other hand, Federalists pointed out the danger of State sovereignty, which would surely in the end disrupt the general government. Subsequent history has proven that the Federalists were right. We have said that Washington was a Federalist at heart. His enemies, meanly jealous of his popularity, often declared that he was a monarchist.
Meanwhile, a revolution, violent in its nature and far-reaching in its consequences, had broken out in France.
It was the immediate consequences of the teachings of the American revolution. The people of France had long endured almost irresponsible despotism, and were yearning for freedom when the French officers and soldiers, who had served in America during the latter years of our struggles for independence, returned to their country full of republican ideas and aspirations. They questioned the right of the few to oppress the many, and the public heart was soon stirred by new ideas, and in a movement that followed, Lafayette was conspicuous for a while. The king, like many tyrants, was weak and vacillating, and soon a body called the states-general assumed the reins of government, while the king was in fact a prisoner. The terrible Bastile, whose history represented royal despotism, was assailed by the citizens of Paris and pulled down.
When this treaty became known, war at once followed. Robespierre and other self-constituted leaders in Paris held sway for a while, and the most frightful massacres of nobles and priests ensued. The weak and unfortunate king, who had accepted constitution after constitution, was now deposed and a republic was established. Affairs had assumed the nature of anarchy and blood, and Lafayette and other moderate men disappeared from the arena. The king was tried on charge of inviting foreigners to invade France, was found guilty and was beheaded in January, 1793. His queen soon shared a like fate. The English troops sent to Flanders were called to fight the French, for the rulers of France had declared war against Great Britain, Spain and Holland in February.
Thomas Jefferson who entered Washington’s cabinet in 1789, had just returned from France, where he had witnessed the uprising of the people against their oppressors. Regarding the movement as kindred to the late uprising of his own countrymen against Great Britain, it enlisted his warmest sympathies, and he expected to find the bosoms of the people of the United States glowing with feelings like his own. He was sadly disappointed. Washington was wisely conservative. His wisdom saw that the cruelty of the anarchists of Paris was not patriotism, but the worst sort of despotism. The society of New York, in which some of the leaven of Toryism yet lingered, chilled Jefferson. He became suspicious of all around him, for he regarded the indifference of the people to the struggles of the French, their old allies, as an evil omen. Though the Tories of New York were cool toward the French republic from far different motives than Washington, yet the same cause was attributed to both.
Jefferson had scarcely taken his seat as Secretary of State in Washington’s first cabinet before he declared that some of his colleagues held decidedly monarchical views; and the belief became fixed in his mind that there was a party in the United States continually at work, secretly and sometimes openly, for the overthrow of American republicanism. The idea became a monomania with Jefferson from which he never recovered till his death, more than thirty years afterward. Jefferson soon rallied under his standard a large party of sympathizers with the French revolutionists. Regarding Hamilton as the head and front of the monarchical party, he professed to believe that the financial plans of that statesman were designed to enslave the people, and that the rights and liberties of the States and of individuals
Amid all this uproar which proceeded from his cabinet, only Washington remained calm. No other American at that day nor since could have remained neutral and guided the ship of state through such breakers of discontent. He was the safe middle water between the dangerous reefs of concentration and State sovereignty.
Had not the Federal party been the victim of many unfortunate circumstances, it would certainly in time have become popular in the nation. It was beyond question Washington’s party, and, notwithstanding the false charges of monarchism and British sovereignty, it was patriotic. Had it existed forty or fifty years longer, until that incubus which haunted Jefferson’s brain had passed away, and the republic become so firmly established that people would no longer fear British dependency, the Federal party would have been a firmly fixed institution. Had Federal ideas been fully inculcated instead of Jeffersonianism and Calhounism, the rebellion of 1861 would not have occurred; but Aaron Burr murdered Hamilton, the friend of Washington, the bright genius of American politics and the hope of the Federal party, and the Federalists were left without any great leader. When the war of 1812 came, the Federalists were so embittered against the Democrats, then in power, that they became lukewarm and threw so many obstacles in the way of the patriots who were making the second fight for freedom, as to almost confirm the suspicion that they were the friends of Great Britain rather than America. This forever blighted the Federal party.
In the year 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States, and the first of Democratic proclivities.
Although the city of Washington, the great American capital, had been laid out on a magnificent scale, in 1791, and George Washington, with masonic ceremonies, laid the corner-stone of the capitol building in 1793, the seat of government was not removed there until the year 1800. The site for the city was a dreary one. At the time when the seat of government was first moved there, only a path, leading through an alder swamp on the line of the present Pennsylvania Avenue, was the way of communication between the president’s house and the capitol. For a while, the executive and legislative officers of the government were compelled to suffer many privations. In the fall of 1800, Oliver Wolcott wrote:
“There is one good tavern about forty rods from the capitol, and several houses are built or erecting; but I don’t see how the members of congress can possibly secure lodgings, unless they will consent to live like scholars in a college or monks in a monastery, crowded ten or twenty in one house. The only resource for such as wish to live comfortably will be found in Georgetown, three miles distant, over as bad a road in winter as the clay grounds near Hartford.
“... There are, in fact, but few houses in any one place, and most of them are small, miserable huts, which present an awful contrast to the public buildings. The people are poor and, as far as I can judge, live like fishes by eating each other. ... You may look in any direction over an extent of ground nearly as large as the city of New York, without seeing a fence or any object except brick kilns and temporary huts for laborers. ... There is no industry, society or business.”
On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated and commenced his first term under favorable auspices. He was then fifty-eight years of age—a tall, bony man, with grizzled sandy hair and rather slovenly dress—a man who practised his Democratic simplicity in all things, and sometimes carried it to extremes. A senator, writing of him in 1802, said:
“The next day after my arrival I visited the president, accompanied by some democratic members. In a few moments after our arrival a tall, high-boned man came into the room. He was dressed, or rather undressed, in an old brown coat, red waistcoat, old corduroy smallclothes, much soiled, woollen hose, and slippers without heels. I thought him a servant, when General Varnum surprised me by announcing it was the president.”
In brief, Mr. Jefferson outlined his policy as follows, in a letter to Nathaniel Macon:
“1. Levees are done made away with. 2. The first communication to the next congress will be, like all subsequent ones, by message to which no answer will be expected. 3. The diplomatic establishment in Europe will be reduced to three ministers. 4. The compensation of collectors depends on you (Congress) and not on me. 5. The army is undergoing a chaste reformation. 6. The navy will be reduced to the legal establishment by the last of the month (May, 1801). 7. Agencies in every department will be revised. 8. We shall push you to the uttermost in economizing. 9. A very early recommendation has been given to the postmaster-general to employ no printer, foreigner or Revolutionary Tory in any of his offices.”
James Madison was Mr. Jefferson’s secretary of state; Henry Dearborn was secretary of war, and Levi Lincoln, attorney-general. Jefferson retained Mr. Adams’s secretaries of the treasury and navy, until the following Autumn, when Albert Gallatin, a naturalized foreigner, was appointed to the first named office and Robert Smith to the second. The president early resolved to reward his political friends when he came to “revise” the agencies in every department. Three days after his inauguration, he wrote to Colonel Monroe, “I have firmly refused to follow the counsels of those who have desired the giving of offices to some of the Federalist leaders in order to reconcile. I have given, and will give, only to Republicans, under existing circumstances.”
The doctrine, ever since acted upon, that “to the victor belong the spoils,” was then practically promulgated from the fountain-head of government patronage; and with a cabinet wholly Democratic, when congress met in December, 1801, and with the minor offices filled with his political friends, Mr. Jefferson began his presidential career of eight years’ duration. In his inaugural address he said, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Federalists—we are all Republicans.”
Vigor and enlightened views marked his course, so that even his political enemies were compelled to confess his foresight and sound judgment in regard to the national policy.
The administration of Jefferson was not marked with perfect peace abroad. Napoleon Bonaparte, the outgrowth of the French revolution, had overthrown monarchy in France and conquered almost all Europe. He was not a Washington, however, and the French people were only exchanging one tyrant for another.
The Algerians, those barbarous North African pirates, had been forcing the Americans to pay tribute. Captain Bainbridge, who commanded the frigate George Washington, for refusing to convey an Algerian ambassador to the court of the sultan at Constantinople, was threatened by the haughty governor with imprisonment.
“You pay me tribute, by which you become my slave, and therefore I have a right to order you as I think proper,” said the dey.
Bainbridge was forced to obey the orders of the Barbarian.
[Illustration: Stephen Decatur.]
The Americans resolved to humble the Algerians, and a fleet was sent to Tripoli in 1803. The frigate Philadelphia, while reconnoitering the harbor, struck on a rock and was captured by the Tripolitans, who made her officers prisoners of war and her crew slaves.
Lieutenant Decatur, on February 3, 1804, by a stratagem, got alongside the Philadelphia with seventy-four brave young sailors like himself and carried the ship by the board after a terrible hand-to-hand conflict. The Tripolitans were defeated, and the Philadelphia was burned. The American seamen continued to bombard Tripoli and blockaded their ports, until the terrified Bashaw made a treaty of peace.
While the Americans were winning laurels on the Mediterranean, the infant republic was growing in political and moral strength. During Mr. Jefferson’s first term, one State (Ohio) and two Territories (Indiana and Illinois) had been formed out of the great Northwestern Territory. Ohio was organized as an independent territory in the year 1800, and in the fall of 1802, it was admitted into the Union as a State. Long before the Northwestern Territory had been divided into different territories, the present limits of Ohio and Kentucky had already become quite populous. Emigrants like Albert Stevens were pushing out on the frontier and building up a great commonwealth.
About 1802, there was great excitement in the country west of the Alleghany Mountains, in consequence of a violation of the treaty made with Spain in 1795, by the governor of Louisiana in closing the port of New Orleans against American commerce. There was a proposition before congress for taking forcible possession of that region, when it was ascertained that, by a secret treaty, Spain had retroceded Louisiana to France. The United States immediately began negotiations for the purchase of that domain from France. Robert R. Livingston, the American minister at the court of the First Consul, found very little difficulty in making a bargain with Bonaparte, for the latter wanted money and desired to injure England. He sold that magnificent domain, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico northward to the present State of Minnesota, and from the Mississippi westward to the Pacific Ocean, for fifteen million dollars. The bargain was made in the spring of 1803, and in the fall the country, and the new domain, which added nine hundred thousand square miles to our territory, was taken possession of by the United States. When the bargain was closed, Bonaparte said:
“This accession of territory strengthens forever the power of the United States, and I have just given to England a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride.”
It was the prevailing opinion in the country, that the Spanish inhabitants, who were forming states in the great valley, would not submit to the rule of American government. Aaron Burr, a wily and unscrupulous politician, who, having murdered the noble Hamilton in a duel, was an outcast from society, began scheming for setting up a separate government in the West. Burr was unscrupulous and dishonest and at the same time shrewd. The full extent of his plans were really never known, and the historian is in doubt whether he intended a severance of the Union, or an invasion of Mexico. Herman Blennerhassett, an excellent Irish gentleman, became his ally and suffered ruin with Burr. Burr was arrested and tried, but was found not guilty. His speech in his own defence was so eloquent, that it is said to have melted his enemies to tears, though all believed him guilty. Burr’s life was a wreck after that. His fame was blasted, and he was placed beside Benedict Arnold as a traitor to his country.
With the acquisition of Louisiana, there grew up a powerful opposition to Jefferson in the North and East. The idea was disseminated that the purchase was only a scheme to strengthen the south and the southern democracy. Mr. Jefferson came almost to having a wholesome dose of his doctrine of State sovereignty exemplified. A convention of Federalists was called at Boston, in 1804, in which a proposition of secession was made. Fortunately, however, there was too much patriotism in the body for the proposition to carry, and the government was saved.
The peace of 1783 between the United States and Great Britain had been extorted by the necessities, rather than obtained by the good will of England. Though, by a formal treaty, the United States were declared free and independent, they were still hated in Great Britain as rebellious colonies. That such was the general opinion is manifest from the letters of John Adams, our first minister to the court of St. James, and from other authentic contemporary accounts. Of course there were a few men of sufficiently enlarged and comprehensive minds to forget the past and urge, even in parliament, that the trade of America would be more valuable as an ally than a dependent; but the number of these was small indeed. The common sentiment in England toward the young republic was one of scornful detestation. We were despised as provincials, we were hated as rebels. In the permanency of our institutions there was scarce a believer in all Britain. This was especially the case prior to the adoption of the federal constitution. Both in parliament and out, it was publicly boasted that the Union would soon fall to pieces, and that, finding their inability to govern themselves, the different States would, one by one, supplicate to be received back as colonies. This vain and empty expectation long lingered in the popular mind, and was not wholly eradicated until after the war of 1812.
Consequently the new republic was treated with arrogant contempt. One of the first acts of John Adams, as minister to England, had been to propose placing the navigation and trade between the dominions of Great Britain and the territories of the United States, on a basis of complete reciprocity. By acceding to such a measure England might have gained much and could have lost but little. The proposal was rejected almost with terms of insult, and Mr. Adams was sternly informed that a “no other would be entertained.” The consequences were that the free negroes of Jamaica, and others of the poorer inhabitants of the British West India Islands were reduced to starvation by being deprived of their usual supplies from the United States. This unreasonable policy on the part of England naturally exasperated the Americans, and one of the first acts of the federal government in 1789 was to adopt retaliatory
In another way Great Britain exasperated the popular feeling here against her, and even forced the American government, once or twice, to the verge of war. By the treaty of peace, all military posts held by England within the limits of the United States were to be given up. Michilimacinac, Detroit, Oswegotche, Point au Fer and Dutchman’s Point were long held in defiance of the compact. These posts became the centre of intrigues among the savages of the Northwest. Arms were here distributed to the Indians, and disturbances on the American frontier were fomented. The war on the Miami, which was brought to a bloody close by Wayne’s victory, was, principally, the result of such secret machinations. In short, England regarded the treaty of 1783 as a truce rather than a pacification, and long, held to the hope of being able yet to punish the colonies for their rebellion. In two celebrated letters written by John Adams from Great Britain, he used the following decided language in reference to the secret designs of England:
“If she can bind Holland in her shackles, and France from internal dissensions is unable to interfere, she will make war immediately against us.” This was in 1787. Two years before he had expressed, the same ideas. “Their present system, as far as I can penetrate it,” he wrote, “is to maintain a determined peace with all Europe, in order that they may war singly against America, if they should think it necessary.”
A sentiment of such relentless hostility, which no attempt was made to disguise, but which was arrogantly paraded on every occasion, could not fail to exasperate those feelings of dislike on the part of America, which protracted war had engendered. This mutual hatred between the two nations arose from the enmity of the people rather than of the cabinets, “There is too much reason to believe,” wrote our minister, “that if the nation had another hundred million to spend, they would soon force the ministry into another war with us.” On the side of the United States, it required all the prudence of Washington, sustained by his hold on the affections of the people, to restrain them from a war with England, after that power had refused to surrender the military posts.
A third element of discord arose when England joined the coalition against France, in 1793. The course which the former had pursued for the preceding ten years, had, as we have seen, tended to alienate the people of America from her and nourish sentiments of hostility in their bosoms. On the other hand, France, with that address for which she is eminent, had labored to heighten the good feelings already existing between herself and the United States. A treaty of alliance and commerce bound the two countries; but the courteous demeanor of France cemented us to her by still stronger ties, those of popular will.
Before the revolution broke out in Paris, the enthusiasm of America toward France could scarce be controlled. There can be no doubt that, if the subsequent excesses had not alarmed all prudent friends of liberty, the people of this country could not have been restrained from engaging in the struggle between France and England; but the reign of terror, backed by the insolence of Citizen Genet the minister of the French republic, and afterward by the exactions of the Directory, checked the headlong enthusiasm that otherwise would have embroiled us in the terrible wars of that period. In his almost more than human wisdom, Washington had selected a course of strict neutrality, from which public enthusiasm, nor fear of loss of public favor could swerve him. His course was wise and proper for the still weak confederacy; and every day was productive of events which showed the wisdom of this decision. Neither Great Britain nor France, however, was gratified by this neutrality. Each nation wished the aid of the Americans, and became arrogant and insulting when they found the resolution of the Americans unbroken. Napoleon, on the part of France, saw the impolicy of such treatment, and when he became first consul, he hastened to abandon it; but England relaxed little or nothing. Circumstances, moreover, made her conduct more irritating than that of France, and hence prolonged and increased the exasperation felt toward her in America.
As a great naval power, the policy of England has been to maintain certain maritime laws, which her jurists claim to be part of the code of nations and enforce in her admiralty courts. One principle of these laws is this, that warlike munitions must become contraband in war; in other words, that a neutral vessel cannot carry such into the enemy’s port. Hence, if a vessel, sailing under the flag of the United States, should be captured on the high seas, bound for France, during the prevalence of a war between that power and England, and be found to be laden with ship-timber or other manufactured or unmanufactured articles for warlike purposes, the vessel would, by the law of nations, become a prize to the captors. The right to condemn a ship carrying such contraband goods has always been recognized by civilized nations, and, indeed, it is founded in common justice. England, however, having supreme control at sea, and being tempted by the hope of destroying the sinews of her adversary’s strength, resolved to stretch this rule so as to embrace provisions as well as munitions of war. She proceeded gradually to her point. She first issued an order, on the 8th of June, 1793, for capturing and bringing into port “all vessels laden, wholly or in part with corn, flour, or meal, and destined to France, or to other countries, if occupied by the arms of that nation.” Such vessels were not condemned, nor their cargoes seized; but the latter were to be purchased on behalf of the English Government; or, if not, then the vessels,
The fermentation in consequence of this order rose to such a height in America, that it required all the skill of Washington to avert a war. The president, however, determining to preserve peace if possible, despatched Jay to London as a minister plenipotentiary, by whose frank explanations, redress was in a measure obtained for the past, and a treaty negotiated, not, indeed, adequate to justice, but better than could be obtained again, when it expired in 1806.
The relaxation in the rigor of the order of November, 1793, soon proved to be more nominal than real; and from 1794 until the peace of Amiens in 1802, the commerce of the United States continued to be the prey of British cruisers and privateers. After the renewal of the war, the fury of the belligerents increased, and with it the stringent measures adopted by Napoleon and Great Britain. The French Emperor, boldly avowing his intention to crush England, forbade by a series of decrees, issued from Berlin, Milan and Rambouillet, the importation of her commodities into any part of Europe under his control; and England, equally sweeping in her acts, declared all such ports in a state of blockade, thus rendering any neutral vessel liable to capture, which should attempt to enter them. The legality of a blockade, where there is not a naval power off the coast competent to maintain such blockade, has always been denied by the lesser maritime powers. Its effect, in the present instance, was virtually to exclude the United States from foreign commerce. In these extreme measures, Napoleon and England were equally censured; but the policy of the latter affected the Americans far more than the former. The exasperation against Great Britain became extreme and pervaded the whole community; that against France was slighter and confined to the more intelligent. Napoleon was first to begin these outrages on the rights of neutrals; but his injustice was practically felt only on land; while England was first to introduce the paper blockade, a measure ruinous to American merchants. This was finally done on May 16, 1806, when Great Britain announced a “blockade of the coast rivers and ports, from the river Elbe to the port of Brest inclusive.” On the 21st of November, of the same year, Napoleon in retaliation, issued a decree from Berlin, placing the British Islands in a state of blockade. This decree was followed by a still more stringent order in council on the part of England.
It now became necessary for the United States either to engage in a war, or to withdraw her commerce from the ocean. The popular voice demanded the former course. Though France was, in the abstract, as unjust as England, her oppressive measures did not affect American commerce, and hence the indignation of the people was directed chiefly against Great Britain; but with the president it was different. Though his sympathies were with. France, his judgment was against her as well as England. In his maturer wisdom, he could now appreciate the great good sense of Washington’s neutrality. Besides, the grand old man Thomas Jefferson was determined to preserve peace, for it was his favorite maxim that “the best war is more fatal than the worst peace.” A further reason led him to refuse the alternative of war. He was not without hope that one or both of the belligerents would return to reason and repeal the obnoxious acts, if the conduct of the United States, instead of being aggressive, should be patient. Actuated by these views, the president recommended to congress the passage of an embargo act. An embargo law was enacted in December, 1807. By it all American vessels abroad were called home, and those in the United States were prohibited from leaving port. In consequence of this measure, the commerce of the country was annihilated in an hour; and harbors, once flourishing and prosperous, soon became only resorts for rotting ships. There can be no question now that the embargo was a serious blunder. It crippled the American resources for the war that ensued; made the eastern States hostile to Jefferson’s, as well as his successor’s administration, and tended to foster in the minds of the populace at large, an idea that we shrank from a contest with Great Britain in consequence of inherent weakness.
There was a fourth and last cause of exasperation, against England, which assisted more than all the rest to produce the war of 1812. This was the British claim to the right of impressment. In the terrible struggles in which England found herself engaged with France, her maritime force was her chief dependence, and accordingly she increased the number of her ships unprecedentedly; but it soon became difficult to man all these vessels. The thriving commerce pursued by the United States, as early as 1793, drew large numbers of English seamen into our mercantile marine service, where they obtained better wages than on board English vessels. By the fiction of her law, a man born an English subject can never throw off this allegiance. Great Britain determined to seize her seamen wherever found and force them, to serve her flag. In consequence, her cruisers stopped every American vessel they met and searched the crew in order to reclaim the English, Scotch or Irish on board. Frequently it happened that persons born in America were taken as British subjects; for, where the boarding officer was judge and jury of a man’s nationality, there was little chance of
Every attempt to arrange this difficulty with England had signally failed. The United States offered that all American seamen should be registered and provided with a certificate of citizenship; that the number of crews should be limited by the tonnage of the ship, and if this number was exceeded, British subjects enlisted should be liable to impressment; that deserters should be given up, and that a prohibition should be issued by each party against clandestinely secreting and carrying off the seamen of the other. In 1800 and again in 1806, it was attempted to form treaties in reference to this subject; but the pertinacity with which England adhered to her claim frustrated every effort at reconciliation. In 1803, the difficulty had nearly been adjusted by a convention, Great Britain agreeing to abandon her claim to impressment on the high seas, if allowed to retain it on the narrow seas, or those immediately surrounding her island; but this being rejected as inadmissible by the United States, all subsequent efforts at an arrangement proved unsuccessful. The impressment of seamen continued and was the source of daily increasing abuse. Not only Americans, but Danes, Swedes, Germans, Russians, Frenchmen, Spaniards and Portuguese were seized and forcibly carried off by British men-of-war. There are even well attested instances of Asiatics and Africans being thus impressed. In short, as the war in Europe approached its climax, seamen became more scarce in the British Navy, and, all decency being thrown aside, crews were filled up under color of this claim, regardless even of the show of justice. In 1811, it was computed that the number of men impressed from the American marine service amounted to not less than six thousand.
In the spring of 1807, a crisis approached. A small British squadron lay in American waters near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, watching some French frigates blockaded at Annapolis. Three of the crew of one of the vessels and one of another had deserted and enlisted on board the United States frigate Chesapeake, lying at the Washington Navy yard. The British minister made a formal demand for their surrender. Our government refused compliance because it was ascertained that two of the men were natives of the United States, and there was strong presumptive evidence that a third was, likewise. No more was said; but the commander of the British squadron took the matter into his own hands.
The Chesapeake, on going to sea on the morning of June 22, 1807, was intercepted by the British frigate Leopard, whose commander hailed the commodore and informed him that he had a despatch for him. Unsuspicious of unfriendliness, the Chesapeake was laid to, when a British boat, bearing a lieutenant, came alongside. Barron politely received him in his cabin, when the lieutenant presented a demand from the commander of the Leopard that the bearer be allowed to muster the crew of the Chesapeake, that he might select and carry away the deserters. The demand was authorized by instructions received from Vice-Admiral Berkeley, at Halifax. Barron told the lieutenant that his crew should not be mustered, excepting by his own officers, when the lieutenant withdrew and the Chesapeake moved on.
Having some fear of mischief, Barron made some preparation to resist; but it was too late to prepare to cope with the Leopard, which followed close in her wake, and the commander called out through his trumpet:
“Commodore Barron must be aware that the vice-admiral’s commands must be obeyed.” The Chesapeake held on her course although this was repeated. The Leopard sent two shots athwart her bows. These were followed by a broadside poured into the hull of the Chesapeake. The American vessel, having no priming in her guns, was unable to return the fire, and after being severely bruised by repeated broadsides she surrendered to her assailants. Her crew was mustered by the British officers and the deserters carried away. One of them, a British subject, was hanged at Halifax and the others, being Americans, were spared on their consenting to enlist in the English Navy. Commodore Barron was tried on charge of neglect of duty in not being prepared for action, found guilty, and suspended from the service for five years without pay or emolument.
On March 4, 1809, Mr. James Madison of Virginia succeeded Mr. Thomas Jefferson as president of the United States. His cabinet were Robert Smith, secretary of state; Albert Gallatin, secretary of the treasury; William Eustis, secretary of war; Paul Hamilton, secretary of the navy, and Caesar Rodney, attorney-general. There was a powerful party in the nation hostile to his political creed, and consequently opposed to his administration and the war with England which seemed inevitable.
French and English nations became more embroiled in trouble, which increased the trouble between the United States and Great Britain.
At last the English government sent men-of-war to cruise off the principal ports of the United States to intercept American merchant-vessels and send them to England as lawful prizes. In this business, the Little Belt, a British sloop-of-war, was engaged off the coast of Virginia in the spring of 1811, where, on the 16th of April, she met the American frigate President, under Captain Ludlow, bearing the broad pennant of Commodore Rodgers. Commodore Rodgers, being aboard the President, hailed the sloop and asked:
“What sloop is that?”
A cannon-shot was his reply.
“Captain Ludlow,” said the commodore, “we will teach that fellow good manners. Are your guns in order?”
“We have been taught a lesson by Barron’s mishap. Train the guns and be ready to fire.”
With a speaking trumpet, the commodore once more hailed the sloop with:
“What sloop is that?”
This time he was greeted with a broadside.
“Fire!” cried the commodore, and the cannon of the President sent a broadside of heavy shot against the impudent stranger.
The conflict lasted only about ten minutes, when Captain Bingham, after losing eleven killed and twenty-one wounded, gave a satisfactory answer. The vessels parted company, the Little Belt sailing for Halifax for repairs.
It was in the year 1809 that the American brig Dover, one of the few of American merchant vessels which had managed to escape the ruin of Jefferson’s embargo act, was sailing among the lesser Antilles. The master-captain Parson was a thorough seaman with a heart as big as an ox.
British cruisers were a greater bugbear to American vessels than pirates, and Captain Parson kept a constant lookout for them.
On the afternoon of an Autumnal day, when he found himself becalmed off a small island not down on the chart, the skipper felt no little uneasiness. He paced his deck impatiently, occasionally turning his eye to every quarter, surveying the horizon for some sign of a gale of wind.
“Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown,” he called to his mate.
“Aye, aye, sir,” answered Mr. Brown, hurrying forward.
“Mr. Brown, look across that point of land sou-west the island—get your glass.”
“Aye, aye, sir!”
The mate ran and got his glass. He came back to the captain and leveled it in the direction indicated by the captain.
“Do you see anything?”
“I do, sir.”
“What is it?”
“I see the top gallant of a ship.”
“I thought I was not mistaken. Can you make out her colors?”
“I will go aloft, captain, and see.”
The mate ascended to the foretop cross-tree, and took a long survey of the stranger. When he descended the captain asked:
“What is she?”
“An English frigate.”
“I knew it!” growled the captain. “I felt it in my bones. We shall have the rascals overhauling us anon. Egad, I wish we had an armed crew and heavy guns—I would not wait for congress to declare war.”
“But captain, while this dead calm lasts, she cannot move more than ourselves.”
“Very true, Mr. Brown, but, egad, she will catch the breeze first, and come up with it. Thank heaven we have no man aboard our ship born out of the United States. They cannot impress any for Englishmen.”
The mate answered:
“They care little whether we are English or American born; if they are short of hands, they will take such of our crews as they want.”
The captain paced the deck uneasily, occasionally muttering:
“Zounds, don’t I wish I had a few heavy guns.”
There was but one small brass piece aboard, and it was only a six pounder, unable to render much service. His country was nominally at peace with Great Britain; but that did not prevent honest merchantmen suffering at the hands of the British cruisers.
The afternoon wore away and the sun had set before there was breeze enough to fill a sail. Just as the vessel began to glide slowly away from the small island not more than two miles distant, the mate, who had ascended to the lookout’s position cried:
“To leeward, heading direct for us.”
The captain seized his glass and turned it toward the island. The sombre shades of twilight had already gathered over the scene; but he saw through them quite distinctly a boat pulled by four men, while a fifth sat in the stern holding the tiller. The steersman kept the small island between them and the vessel Captain Parson had discovered.
As the breeze grew stiffer and the Dover began to fill away, the mate, who had never taken his glass off the approaching boat, suddenly cried:
“Captain Parson, they are signalling us to heave to!”
“So they are, by zounds!” the puzzled captain exclaimed.
“What will you do?”
After a moment’s hesitation, the captain said:
“Heave to, by Jove, and see what they want!”
The order was given, and the vessel rocked idly on the waves, while the boat drew rapidly nearer. At last it was near enough for them to make out the five men dressed in the uniform of British marines.
“Brown, I don’t like this. Those fellows are from his majesty’s frigate, there is no doubt, and they mean us trouble.”
“Wait and see, captain,” the mate answered, coming down to the deck. “There are but five of them, and, so far as I can see, all are unarmed.” The deck by this time was crowded with the crew, all waiting in anxious expectation and dread.
“It am de press gang!” said the cook, who was a negro black as the ace of spades named Job. “Dey am comin’ to take off everybody dat looks like a Britisher. Golly! do I look like a Britisher?”
Notwithstanding the gravity of the situation, a smile flitted momentarily over the faces of the officers and crew. The boat by this time was within hailing distance, though it had grown so dark the inmates of it could be only dimly seen.
“Boat, ahoy!” cried the captain.
“Aye, aye, sir!” came back the response.
“What boat is that?”
“A boat from his majesty’s ship the Sea-Wing. We wish to come aboard your vessel.”
When the captain asked them their business, they frankly confessed that they were deserters and had been secreted all day on the island watching an opportunity to reach the American brig.
Their story was a probable one, and the captain and his officers believed it. A rope was tossed to them, and in a few moments five stalwart jack tars in the uniform of the British Navy stood on the deck.
One tall, fine-looking seaman, who was every inch a gentleman, and whose conversation was evidence of education and refinement, told their story.
Three of them were Americans, and two were Swedes. They had been seized by the press gang and made slaves on board the frigate.
“It has been many years,” said the tall sailor, “since I saw my native land. I am a native of Hartford, Connecticut.”
“Why didn’t you escape sooner?” the Captain asked.
“Escape, captain, is no easy matter, and is attended with serious consequences. They usually hang one who tries to desert. I am a gunner, by profession, and but for the fact they need my services against the French, I would have been hung long since for trying to desert.”
The gunner impressed Captain Parson favorably. He was a man between forty and forty-five years of age. His eyes were deep blue, his hair light. His round, full face was smooth shaven. As he stood on the deck, his brawny arms folded across his massive chest, he looked a perfect model of a man and a tower of strength.
Captain Parson led him aside and said:
“You are no common sailor.”
“I’m only a gunner now, captain.”
“But in the past?”
“I once commanded a ship. I will tell you my story on the morrow. It is a sad one, but, thank God, there’s nothing in it at which I need blush. For the present, however, let us get along as fast as your ship can make it, for the Sea-Wing is a swift vessel, and if we are not beyond reach of her vision before the dawn of day, we shall be overhauled.”
Captain Parson knew that some evil consequences might result from being overhauled by the Sea-Wing, and consequently every stitch of canvas was spread and the brig sped away with a good stiff breeze. It was a long and anxious night; master and crew were all on deck. No one slept. The coming dawn would tell the story. If the frigate were in sight, then they might expect the very worst; even the ship might be captured and borne away as a prize and the entire crew enslaved.
Dawn came at last. Each anxious heart welcomed and yet dreaded to see the new day. Sailors and officers swept the sea as it grew lighter, and, to their dread, just as the sun rose over the glossy surface of the sea, a snowy speck appeared far off to the westward.
The lookout at the mast-head first called their attention to it, and as it drew nearer and nearer the tall handsome gunner went aloft with a glass to see if he could recognize it. In a few moments he came back and said:
“It is the frigate, sir.”
That she was in full chase, there could not be a doubt. Captain Parson had little hope of escaping; but he put the Dover on her best sailing point and scudded away before the wind with every stitch of canvas they could carry.
“Oh, golly! I hope dey won’t mistake—dey won’t mistake dis chile for a Britisher!” groaned Job the cook, who was trembling from head to foot, and whose black skin was almost pale.
The five deserters were pale but calm. They seemed to read their fate and bore it like men. A flogging was the very least they could expect; but the chances were that every one would hang. The frigate was the swifter sailor and overhauled them so rapidly, that, in two hours and a half, she was within a mile of the brig.
Suddenly a wreath of white smoke curled up from the forecastle, and a moment later a ball came skipping over the water under their larboard deck, while the boom of a cannon sounded over the sea. As the fine spray clipped from the crested waves by the shot, flew over the deck, Mr. Brown said:
“Captain, it’s no use, she will be near enough to sink us in ten minutes.”
“Heave to, Brown. Oh! I wish I had arms and a crew!”
“Captain,” interposed the tall, handsome gunner, “I—I know their skill and metal. If you had a gun—a single gun of proper calibre, I could sink her. I am called the best shot in the English navy.”
“We have only a six pounder,” answered the captain, ruefully, pointing to their only gun. It was but an inferior piece, and when the gunner examined it, he turned to his four anxious companions and said:
“It would be suicide.”
Then the five sailors stood near the main gangway with arms folded, heads erect, and resigned like brave men to their fate. The frigate came bearing down upon them like a great mountain, and soon lay alongside. The captain and a score of marines all armed with muskets, came aboard.
“So ho!” cried the captain, “you have my live runaways snug enough. Seize them and carry them aboard, lieutenant.”
A young officer with ten men now seized the five deserters, handcuffed them and led them to their ship which lay alongside. As they went over the rail, the brutal captain said something about swinging at the yard arm. Turning to Parson, he said:
“Captain, muster your crew and have them pass before me.”
Much as the captain disliked to do so, he was in the power of the brutal Englishman and forced to do his bidding. As the sailors passed slowly before him, the Briton eyed each carefully. Suddenly he pointed to a stout young sailor named Tom, and cried:
“Stop sir, you are an Englishman!”
“I am not, capen, ye’s mistaken, I was born at Plymouth, Massachusetts.”
“Don’t dispute my word, sir. I know you, seize him!”
Though three of Tom’s messmates offered to swear that he was a native of Massachusetts, he was seized, ironed and hurried away. Two more were selected, despite the protests of Captain Parson, who was raging like a madman, and hurried aboard the frigate. The fourth man halted in the procession was Job, the colored cook.
“Stop, sir, I want you!” said the English officer.
[Illustration: “DO YOU THINK DAR IS ANY ANGLER SAXUN BLOOD IN DESE VEINS?”]
“Want me, Capen? oh, golly! I ain’t a Britisher!” cried Job, gesticulating wildly. “Do I look like I war a Britisher? Do you think dar is any Angler Sacksun blood in dese veins?”
Job howled and appealed in vain. The commander of the Sea Wing declared him to be an English negro, and he was hurried away to try the hard service on board a British war vessel.
Having culled the crew of the Dover to his heart’s content, the haughty Briton went aboard his own ship and continued his cruise, leaving Captain Parson expressing his ideas in such language as no parson should use.
FERNANDO’S JOURNEY EAST. HE MEETS WITH QUEER PEOPLE.
From the day Fernando Stevens began to read and learn of the great world beyond the narrow confines of his western home, he was filled with the laudable ambition to know more about it. The solitude of the wilderness may be congenial for meditation; but it is in the moving whirl of humanity that ideas are brightened. Fernando was promised that if he would master the common school studies taught in their log schoolhouse, he should be sent to one of the eastern cities to have his education completed. Albert Stevens, the lad’s father, was becoming one of the most prosperous farmers of the west. He had purchased several tracts of land which rapidly increased in value, and his flocks and herds multiplied marvelously. He was in fact regarded as “rich” in those days of simplicity. He had sent several flatboats loaded with grain down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans and sold the cargoes at great profit, so that, in addition to his fields, his stock and houses, he had between three and four thousand dollars in money.
Fernando grew to be a tall, slender youth, and in 1806 having finished his education, so far as the west could afford, his father determined to send him to the East, where it was hoped he would develop into a lawyer or a preacher. The mother hoped the latter. His brother and sister had grown up, married and were settled on farms in the neighborhood, taking on the same existence of their parents; living honest, peaceful and unambitious lives.
The youth Fernando was more inclined to mental than physical activity, and his parents, possessing an abundance of common sense, decided not to force him to engage in an occupation distasteful to him.
What school should he enter? was a question which the father long debated. There were Harvard and Yale, both famous seats of learning, and there were any number of academies all over the country. Captain Stevens finally decided to allow the youth to make his own selection, giving him money sufficient to take a little tour in the eastern States, before settling down.
Captain Stevens had a well-to-do neighbor, who lived across Bear Creek, by the name of Winners. Old Zeb Winners was one of those quaint products of the West. He was an easy-going man, proverbially slow of speech and movement, and certainly the last person on earth one would expect to become rich; yet he was wealthy. With all his slothfulness he was shrewd, and could drive a better bargain than many men twice as active in mind and body. One morning after it had become noised abroad that Fernando was going away to college, Mr. Winners rode up to the house on his big sorrel mare, her colt following, and, dismounting, tied the mare to the rail fence and entered the gate.
“Good mornin’, cap’in, good mornin’,” said the visitor.
“Come in, Mr. Winners. Glad to see you. Hope you are all well!”
“Oh, yes, middlin’ like,” answered the farmer entering the house without the ceremony of removing his hat. A chair was offered, and he sat for a moment with his hands spread out before the fireplace, his hat still on his head. There was no fire in the fireplace, for it was late in May; but Mr. Winners held his hands before it, from habit.
“Wall, cap’in, I do hear as how yer goin’ ter send yer boy Fernando to college.”
“Wall, that air a good notion. Now I ain’t got no book larnin’ myself; but I don’t object to nobody else gittin’ none. I’ve made up my mind to send one of my boys along with ’im, ef ye’ve no objection.”
Of course Captain Stevens had no objection. Which of his boys was he going to send?
“I kinder thought az how I’d send Sukey.”
Sukey was a nickname given a tall, lazy youth named Richard Winners. Why he had been nicknamed Sukey we have never been able to ascertain; but the sobriquet, attached to him in childhood, clung to him all through life. Sukey was like his father, brave, slow, careful, but a steadfast friend and possessed of considerable dry humor. He took the world easy and thought “one man as good as another so long as he behaved himself.”
It was arranged that Sukey and Fernando should start in a week for New York, from which point they might select any college or school they chose. The mail stage passed the door of farmer Winners, crossed the big bridge and then passed the home of Captain Stevens. Captain Stevens’ house was no longer a cabin in the wilderness. It was a large, substantial two-story farm mansion, with chimneys of brick instead of sticks and mud. The forests had shrunk back for miles, making place for vast fields, and the place had the appearance of a thrifty farm.
Fernando’s trunk was packed, and he sat on the door-step in his best clothes awaiting the appearance of the stage. At last the rumbling thunder of wheels rolling over the great bridge smote his ears, and a few moments later the vehicle came up to the gate. The six prancing horses were drawn up, and the vehicle stopped, while the driver cried:
Sukey was in the stage, his dark eyes half closed. He roused himself to drawl out:
“Come on, Fernando, we’re off now, for sure.”
While two farm hands, assisted by the driver, placed the trunk in the boot, Fernando bade father and mother adieu. Sister had come over with her husband and the baby. His brother with his young wife were present to bid the young seekers after knowledge adieu. They followed Fernando to the stage coach and cried:
“Good bye, Sukey! take good care of Fernando!” and Sukey drawled out:
“Who’ll take keer o’ me?”
The last good bye’s were said, and the great stage coach rolled on. The impressions of the young frontiersmen on approaching the first town were strange and indescribable. The number of houses and streets quite confused them. There seemed to be little or no order in the construction of streets, and everybody seemed in a bustle and confusion. They stopped over night at a tavern, and at early dawn the stage horn awoke them, and after a hasty breakfast they were again on their journey.
Several weeks were spent in traveling from town to town, and on September 1st, 1807, they found themselves in New York City, still undecided where they would go.
One morning Fernando went for his usual walk toward the river, when a large crowd of people at the wharf attracted his attention. Drawing near, he saw a curious-looking boat on the water, the like of which he had never seen before. It was one hundred feet long, twelve feet wide and seven feet deep. There was a staff or mast at the bow, another at the stern. From a tall chimney there issued volumes of smoke, while from a smaller pipe there came the hissing of boiling water and white steam. Two great, naked paddle-wheels were on the boat, one on each side near the middle. Fernando thought this must be the toy of which he had heard so much, being constructed by Robert Fulton and Chancellor Livingston. On one side of the boat was painted the name Clermont.
“What is that?” Fernando asked of a rollicking, fun-loving young Irishman about twenty-two or three years of age, who stood near.
“Faith, sir, it’s a steamboat. We have all come to see her launched. They call her the Clermont; but it’s mesilf as thinks she ought to be Fulton’s Folly, for divil a bit do I believe she’ll go a cable’s length.”
Fernando and his new acquaintance drew nearer. The hissing of the steam and the roaring of the furnaces were fearful.
“Do you know Robert Fulton?” Fernando asked.
“Indade, I do. Would you like to see the greatest lunatic out of Bedlam? Then it’s mesilf as will point him out to yez.”
“I should like to see him.”
There were a number of men at work on the boat, all expressing the wildest eagerness and anxiety. They were rushing forward and aft, above and below, to those ponderous engines and boilers; but no one could see what they did. At last Mr. Fulton, the great inventor, appeared. He was a large, smooth-shaved gentleman, with a long head and melancholy gray eye. On his nose was a smut spot from the machinery. Thousands were now assembled to witness the trial voyage. Mr. Livingston gave the order to cast off, and start the vessel. The lines were loosed and the steam turned on. Loud hissed the confined monster; but the wheels did not move. What was the matter?
“Failure!” was on every tongue, and the crowd assembled already began to hoot and jeer. Mr. Fulton’s face expressed the deepest anxiety. He ran below to inspect the machinery. A bolt had caught. This was removed, and then the ponderous wheels began to move. The great paddles churned the water to a mass of foam, and the boat glided forward against wind and tide at a rate of speed astonishing. Fernando saw Robert Livingston standing in the stern waving his handkerchief at the crowd which was now sending up cheer after cheer. The American flag was run up on the staff, and the steamboat continued on her course up the river to Albany, making the distance of one hundred and sixty miles in thirty-six hours against wind and tide; and from that time until now, navigation by steam, travel and commerce, has been steadily increasing in volume and perfection, until such vessels may be seen on every ocean and in almost every harbor of the globe, even among the ice packs of the polar seas. This was the second of the great and beneficent achievements which distinguished American inventors at that early period of our country’s struggles. The cotton-gin, invented by Eli Whitney, was the first; an implement that could do the work of a thousand persons in cleaning cotton wool of the seeds. That machine has been one of the most important aids in the accumulation of our national wealth.
Fernando Stevens stood on the wharf among the assembled thousands, watching the steamer until it disappeared far up the river. He was lost in wonder and amazement and was first aroused from his reverie by the young man at his side saying:
“Don’t she bate the divil?”
It was his skeptical Irish friend.
Fernando turned to him and asked, “What do you think of it now?”
“Faith, she’s a bird, so she is. Don’t she cleave the water?”
From this time, the two became acquainted, and Fernando learned that the young Hibernian’s name was Terrence Malone. Terrence was a true Irishman of the good old type. He was brave as a lion, full of native wit and humor, and yet an intelligent gentleman. From the first, he took a great fancy to Fernando and when he learned that he had come from the West to enter some academy or college, he informed him that he knew of the place—the very place. It was the Baltimore Academy. He was a member of the Baltimore school himself and he was sure there was not another like it in the world. In short, the dashing young Irishman soon persuaded Fernando to try the Baltimore school.
He went back to the tavern where he had left Sukey writing letters.
“What was all that catterwaulin’ and yellin’ about down at the river?” Sukey asked.
“The new steamboat began her trial trip,” answered Fernando.
“Wonder if that thing I saw with a stovepipe in it was a steamboat?”
Sukey shook his head sagely and remarked:
“It don’t look as if it would ever amount to much.”
“Sukey, I have found a school for us at last.”
“What d’you want to go there for?”
“I met a young man who belongs there, and he advised us to go.”
“Who is he?”
“His name is Terrence Malone, an Irishman.”
“That name’s not French any way. How are we going to Baltimore?”
“A schooner sails to-morrow.”
“Can we go in her?”
“Plague take the sea! I never tried it, and I don’t want to.”
“It will be a short voyage.”
“Short, yes, but long enough to make me sick. I don’t want to be in the game. I am not a water dog. Keep me on the dry land, and I’m all right.”
But Fernando knew that a journey by land would take much longer than by sea. Terrence Malone came to see them that evening and informed them that the schooner would sail next day. He was a jolly young fellow and had so many droll stories and jokes, that he kept his companions in a roar of laughter. One joke followed another in such rapid succession that the youngsters had scarce done laughing at one, before he fired another at them.
“Baltimore is the most wonderful city in the world, barin Cork,” the fair-haired son of the Emerald Isle declared. “There you find gallant gintlemen and the prettiest girls on earth. Ah! if you could but see my Kitty Malone! She’s a beauty, just a trifle older than mesilf, but every inch a darlint. Her head is red, her face a trifle freckled, her body’s so stout that the girt of a mule wouldn’t encircle her waist,” and here Terrence winked, “She plays on the wash-board an illigant tune, for which she charges a half a dime a garment.”
“Did you ever meet with such a jolly fellow?” laughed Fernando when he was gone.
“No,” Sukey answered. “He has made my sides ache.”
Next day found the westerners on board the schooner sailing out from the harbor of New York. The skipper was half tipsy, his crew insubordinate, and for awhile no one seemed to know or care whither they went. The captain had such frequent recourse to his demijohn, that it was evident that he would soon be wholly unfit for duty. At last Terrence declared he would have to take matters in hand himself.
The sea was rough, and both Fernando and Sukey were too sick to leave their bunks long at the time.
“Jist ye lie still there, like a darlint, and lave the skipper to me,” said Terrence to Fernando. “Not another divil of a drop shall he have, until we are safe in Baltimore.”
Then he went away, leaving Fernando wholly in ignorance of his plan. At last, becoming anxious about him, he went out to see what he was doing. The schooner was rolling heavily and Fernando was so sick he could scarcely stand, yet he crept out under the lee of the cabin and saw a sight that made him smile.
Terrence and the captain were sitting on the deck playing cards. The young Irishman had won two demijohns and three jugs of rum from the captain, and he was now playing for the last pint flask the skipper possessed. The young Irishman won it and carried his property to his stateroom, and when the skipper next applied for a drink, Malone answered:
“Divil a drop will ye get, till we are safe in Baltimore.” The captain plead in vain. Terrence was firm, and the skipper in time became sober.
Next morning it was discovered that owing to the drunkenness and carelessness of the captain and crew, they had drifted far out to sea. The waves rolled high, and the little schooner plunged about in a manner frightful to a landlubber.
Fernando was awakened by a groan. It was Sukey, and going to his berth Terrence asked:
“What’s the matter, Sukey?”
“I am dying!” he answered.
“Courage, courage, me boy, ye’ll get over it.”
“I don’t want to get over it,” answered Sukey, with a hollow groan.
A few moments later the skipper came to beg for a morning dram.
“Divil a drop, cap’in, until we are in Baltimore.”
“How long will it take to reach Baltimore, captain?” asked the seasick Sukey.
“Oh, Heavens!” groaned Sukey. “Can’t you sink the ship?”
“What do you want to sink for?” demanded the astounded skipper.
“I’d rather drown than live twenty-four hours longer in this blamed boat.”
“You’ll live over it,” growled the thirsty skipper.
“I don’t want to live over it. I want to die.”
Terrence roared with laughter, then he told a funny story which seemed to increase the pangs of poor Sukey.
By the middle of the afternoon, Fernando had recovered enough to go out on deck. He found the captain and his crew huddled up in the fore part of the deck, discussing a large, square-rigged ship, which was bearing toward them. He heard one of the sailors say:
“She flies English colors.”
A little later there was a puff of smoke from her forecastle and a ball dashed into the water athwart their bow.
“It’s a cruiser, and that means to heave to; but blow my eyes if I do it!” cried the captain, who was opposed to search and impressment. He put the schooner about and, with all sail spread, flew over the water at a rate of speed which defied pursuit. The cruiser fired several shots after them.
“Who is that shootin’?” Sukey asked unconcernedly, as Fernando entered the wretched cabin.
“A British man-of-war.”
“What is it shootin’ at?”
“I hope she will hit us and put me out o’ this misery,” groaned Sukey.
Fortunately for the chief characters of this story, the man-of-war did not hit them, and next day they reached Baltimore. Sukey recovered his health with remarkable rapidity, and a few hours on shore made him quite himself.
Terrence, who seemed to know the town thoroughly, conducted them to an inn where they were to remain until arrangements could be made for entering the school. Terrence took the two young men under his care in a fatherly way, assuring them it would be bad luck to any who spoke ill of them; but Terrence could not be with them for several days. He had urgent business in Philadelphia, which would require his absence.
For a week after their arrival at Baltimore, their lives were of the most dreary monotony. The rain, which had begun to fall soon after their arrival, continued to descend in torrents, and they found themselves close prisoners in the sanded parlors of the miserable inn. They could but compare this wretched place with the grand old forests and broad prairies of the West, and Sukey began to sigh for home.
“Are you homesick already, Sukey?” asked Fernando.
“I am not homesick—blast such a place as this—give me a country where it don’t rain 365 days out o’ the year, and I’m content, home or abroad,” growled Sukey.
Their situation was by no means pleasant. Their front window looked out upon a long, straggling, ill-paved street, with its due proportion of mud heaps and duck pools. The houses on either side were, for the most part, dingy-looking edifices, with half-doors, and such pretensions to being shops as the display of a quart of meal, salt, or string of red peppers confers. A more wretched, gloomy-looking picture of woe-begone poverty one seldom beheld.
It was no better if they turned for consolation to the rear of the house. There their eyes fell upon the dirty yard of a dirty inn, and the half-covered cowshed, where two famishing animals mourned their hard fate as they chewed the cud of “sweet and bitter fancy.” In addition, they saw an old chaise, once the yellow postchaise, the pride and glory of the establishment, now reduced from its wheels and ignominiously degraded to a hen house. On the grass-grown roof, a cock had taken his stand, with an air of protective patronage to the feathered inhabitants beneath.
Sukey stood at the narrow window gazing out on the dreary and melancholy scene, while he heaved an occasional sigh.
“If this is what you call gitten an education I don’t want it,” he drawled at last. “I would rather go back to Ohio and hunt for deer or black bear, than enjoy such amusement as this is.”
“Oh, it will get better,” said Fernando.
“It has great room for growing better.”
“But it might be worse.”
“Yes, we might be at sea.”
Their landlady, a portly woman with two marriageable daughters, did all in her power to make their stay pleasant. She praised Baltimore for its beauty and health, its picturesqueness and poetry. It was surely destined to be the greatest city in the United States.
When they were alone, Sukey pointed to the mud heaps and duck pools and gravely asked:
“Do they show the poetry and picturesk of which she speaks? Is that old chaise a sign of health or prosperity?”
“Be patient, Sukey; we have seen little or none of Baltimore.”
“Plague take me if I haven’t seen more than I want to see of it now,” growled Sukey.
At last the weather cleared a little, and the sun shone brilliantly on the pools of water and muddy street. The young gentlemen strolled forth to look about the town.
When about to start from the inn, Sukey asked:
“Say, Fernando, how are we goin’ to find our way back?”
This was a serious question for even Fernando. He reflected over it a moment and then said:
“It’s the house at the foot of the second hill with the road or street that winds around the cliff.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to take hatchets and blaze the corners of the houses as we go along?” suggested Sukey. Fernando smiled and thought the owners might raise some serious objections to having their houses blazed. They were still somewhat undecided in regard to the matter, when their landlady, with a movement about as graceful as the waddle of a duck, came down the rickety stairs, and they in despair appealed to her. She relieved them of their trouble in short order. On a piece of tin over her door was the number 611. She told them the name of the street, and assured them if they would remember that and the number, any one would point it out to them. Besides they had only to remember the widow Mahone, everybody in the town knew the widow Mahone.
With this assurance of safe return, the two youngsters ventured forth into the city. They were not as verdant as the reader may imagine. Both had been reared in the western wilderness and retained much of the pioneer traits about them; but books had been society for them, and their four months spent in New York and Boston had given them an urbane polish. Sukey, however, had many inherent traits, which all the schools could not wholly eradicate.
“I don’t like towns,” he declared, as they ascended a hill, which gave them an excellent view of the harbor and shipping. “They are too close. I want elbow room, and as soon as I get through my college course, I am going back to the woods.”
“Won’t your education be lost there?”
“No; can’t I be a lawyer, or a doctor, or a preacher as well there as here? Besides, if we only sit down and wait awhile in Ohio, the cities will come to us.”
“Yes, Sukey, you are right. Civilization is going West, and in course of time the largest part of the republic will be west of the mountains.” Of course Fernando referred to the Alleghany Mountains, for the Rocky Mountains were hardly thought of at this date. “But come; we don’t seem to be in the most populous part of the town. Let us go over the hill where the houses are better and look cleaner.”
“I am willing, for, to tell you the truth, this place smells too much of the sea.”
They went along a narrow street, which had a decidedly fishy odor, for there were two markets on it. They passed an old woman carrying on her back a great bag which seemed filled with rags and waste papers gathered up from the refuse of the street. Sukey wondered if that was the way she made her living. At the corner was a low public house in which were some sailors drinking and singing songs.
“Fernando, there is a fellow with a plaguy red coat on!” suddenly cried Sukey, seizing his companion’s arm.
“Yes, he is an officer of the English army or navy.”
“Do they allow him here?”
“Of course; we are at peace with England.”
“Well, I’d like to take that fellow down a bit. He walks too straight. Why he thinks he could teach Alexander somethin’ on greatness.”
“Never mind him; come on.”
Next they met a party of half-drunken marines, who began to chafe them, and Sukey, though slow to wrath, was about to give them an exhibition of frontier muscle, when his friend got him away, and they hastened to a better part of the city.
Here they found beautiful residences, and on the next street were magnificent stores and shops. Elegant carriages, drawn by horses in shining harness, indicating wealth, were seen. Elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen were premenading the street, or exchanging congratulations. Sukey thought this would “sort o’ do,” and he wondered why Terrence Malone had quartered them down in that miserable frog pond, when there was higher ground and better houses.
While standing on the corner watching the gay equipages and handsomely dressed people, a carriage drawn by a pair of snow-white horses came suddenly dashing down the street. The equipage, though one of the finest they had ever seen, was stained with travel as if it had come from a distance.
“There, Fernando, by zounds, there is some rich fellow you can be sure!” said Sukey as the vehicle drove by. “Egad! I would like to see who is inside of it.”
He had that privilege, for the carriage paused only half a block away, and an elderly man with a rolling, sailor-like movement got out and assisted a young girl of about sixteen to alight.
“Jehosophat—Moses and Aaron’s rod, my boy! do you see her?” gasped Sukey.
“Ain’t she pretty?”
“Hush! she may hear you.”
“Well, if she’d get mad at that, she is different from most girls.”
“Her father might not think it much of a compliment.”
The coachman, closing the door of the carriage mounted his box and took the reins, while the pretty girl took her father’s arm and came down the street passing the young men, who, we fear, stared at her rudely. They were hardly to be blamed for it, for she was as near perfection as a girl of sixteen can be. Tall, willowy form, with deep blue eyes, soft as a gazelle’s, long, silken lashes and arched eyebrows, with golden hair, and so graceful that every movement might be set to music.
Fernando gazed after her until she disappeared into a fashionable shop, and then, uttering a sigh, started as if from a dream.
“What do you say now, old fellow?” asked Sukey.
“Let us go home.”
“Well, back to the widow Mahone’s inn.”
“All right; now let us try to find the trail.”
It was no easy matter, although they had the street and number well fixed in their mind. Finally they asked a watchman (policemen were called watchmen in those days) and he conducted them to the abode of Mrs. Mahone.
The first person to greet them was Terrence. There was a bright smile on his jolly face as he cried:
“It’s right plazed I am to see ye lookin’ so cheerful, boys; and it’s a good time ye be having roaming the streets and looking at the beauty of Baltimore. Much of it you’ll find, to be sure. To-morrow we’ll go to the academy, pay our entrance fee and begin business.”
[ILLUSTRATION: AS NEAR PERFECTION AS A GIRL OF SIXTEEN CAN BE.]
“Terrence,” said Fernando in a half whisper, “Can’t we find a more comfortable place than this to live in?”
“Oh, be aisy, me frind, for it’s an illegant a house I’ve got for all of us, and we’ll be as comfortable there as a banshee.”
Not knowing what a “banshee” was, Fernando, of course, could draw no conclusion from the comparison. When the three young men had entered their room, Terrence began to tell them of a beautiful “craythur” he had that day seen in town, and on inquiry learned she lived a few miles away on the coast. She was the daughter of an old sea captain and came almost daily to the city.
“What is her name?” asked Fernando.
“Great Jehosiphat, Fernando! Lane was on that carriage we saw,” cried Sukey, starting suddenly from a couch on which he had been reclining.
WAR FEELING OF 1811.
Mr. James Madison seems to have been one of the many great Americans capable of changing his political views without losing public favor. Mr. Madison, as a delegate to the constitutional convention held at Philadelphia in May, 1787, was beyond question a Federalist. Of the convention, a writer of the highest authority says:
“Mr. Madison was prominent in advocating the constitution, and took a leading part in the debates, of which he kept private notes, since published by order of congress. His views in regard to the federal government are set forth at length in a paper still extant in the handwriting of Gen. Washington. This paper contains the substance of a letter written to Washington by Mr. Madison before the meeting of the convention, and proposes a scheme of thorough centralization. The writer declares that he is equally opposed to the individual independence of the States and to ’the consolidation of the whole in one simple republic.’ He is nevertheless in favor of investing congress with power to exercise a negative in all cases whatever on the legislative acts of the States, as heretofore exercised by the kingly prerogative. He says further that the right of coercion should be expressly declared; but the difficulty and awkwardness of operating by force on the collective will of a State render it particularly desirable that the necessity of it should be precluded. From these extreme views, Mr. Madison afterward conscientiously departed; but in the convention he supported them with zeal and vigor.”
It was feared at first that Madison would perpetuate the policy of Jefferson; but the tone and temper of his inaugural address, delivered March 4th, 1809, fell like oil on troubled waters. His most implacable enemies could not refrain from uttering words of approbation; and the whole nation entertained hopes that his measures might change the gloomy aspect of public affairs.
Madison’s administration was now sustained by a larger majority of the American people than that of Jefferson had ever been, and the Federalists, or the opposition, were in a hopeless minority. The continued aggressions of the British were increasing the Democratic strength every day; and in 1811, circumstances seemed to make war with Great Britain an imperative necessity for the vindication of the honor, rights and independence of the United States.
The Indian tribes on the northwestern frontiers of the United States became very uneasy, and the machinations of British traders and government emissaries had stimulated the growth of that discontent into a decidedly hostile feeling toward the nation of Republicans, then pressing upon the domain of the savages. The suspension of the world’s commerce had diminished the amount of their traffic in furs, and the rapid extension of American settlements northward of Ohio was narrowing their hunting grounds and producing a rapid diminution of game. The introduction of intoxicating liquors among the savages by white traders and speculators had widely spread demoralization, with consequent disease and death.
English emissaries made the savages to believe that all these evils had been brought upon them by the encroachments of the Americans; and in the spring of 1811, it became evident that a league was forming among the tribes for the extermination of the frontier settlers.
Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief, shrewd, crafty and intrepid, endeavored to emulate Pontiac, the great Ottowa chief, in the formation of an Indian confederacy in the Northwest, for making war upon the United States. He had a shrewd twin brother, called the prophet, whose mysterious incantation and predictions and pretended visions and spiritual intercourse had inspired the savage mind with great veneration for him as a wonderful “medicine man.” He and Tecumseh possessed almost unbounded influence over the Delawares, Shawnees, Wyandots, Miamis, Kickapoos, Winnebagoes and Chippewas.
The celebrated Shawnee chief Tecumseh, according to Drake, was born a few years before the Revolution, at the Indian village of Piqua, on Mad River, about six miles below the site of Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. His tribe removed from Florida about the middle of the last century. His father, who was a chief, fell at the bloody battle of Point Pleasant, in 1774. From his youth, he showed a passion for war. He early acquired an unbounded influence over his tribe for his bravery, his sense of justice and his commanding eloquence. Like his great prototype, Pontiac, humanity was a prominent trait in his character. He not only was never known to ill-treat or murder a prisoner, but indignantly denounced those who did, employing all his authority and eloquence in behalf of the helpless. In 1798, Tecumseh removed with his followers to the vicinity of White River, Indiana, among the Delawares, where he remained for a number of years. In 1805, through the influence of Laulewasikaw, the brother of Tecumseh, a large number of Shawnees established themselves at Greeneville. Very soon after, Laulewasikaw assumed the office of a prophet; and forthwith commenced that career of cunning and pretended sorcery, which always enables the shrewd hypocrite to sway the ignorant, superstitious mind. Throughout the year of 1806, the brothers remained at Greeneville and were visited by many Indians from different tribes, not a few of whom became their followers. The prophet dreamed many wonderful dreams and claimed to have had many supernatural revelations made him. The great eclipse of the sun that occurred in the summer of this year, a knowledge of which he had by some means attained, enabled him to carry conviction to the minds of many of his ignorant followers, that he was really the earthly agent of the Great Spirit. He boldly announced to the unbelievers, that, on a certain day, he would give them proof of his supernatural powers by bringing darkness over the sun. When the day and hour of the eclipse arrived, and the earth, even at midday, was shrouded in the gloom of twilight, the prophet, standing in the midst of his party, significantly pointed to the heavens and cried out:
“Did I not prophesy truly? Behold! darkness has shrouded the sun!”
It may readily be supposed that this striking phenomenon, thus adroitly used, produced a strong impression on the Indians, and greatly increased their belief in the sacred character of their prophet.
In the spring of 1808, Tecumseh and the prophet removed to a tract of land on the Tippecanoe, a tributary of the Wabash, where the latter continued his efforts to induce the Indians to forsake their vicious habits, while Tecumseh was visiting the neighboring tribes and quietly strengthening his own and the prophet’s influence over them. The events of the early part of the year 1810 were such as to leave but little doubt of the hostile intentions of the brothers. The prophet was apparently the most prominent actor, while Tecumseh was in reality the mainspring of all the movements, backed, it is supposed, by the insidious influence of British agents, who supplied the Indians gratis with powder and ball, in anticipation, perhaps, of hostilities between the two countries, in which event a union of all the tribes against the Americans was desirable. Tecumseh had opposed the sale and cession of lands to the United States, and he declared it to be his unalterable resolution to take a stand against the further intrusion of the whites upon the soil of his people.
So menacing had the Indians become in the Spring of 1810, that General W.H. Harrison, a son of Benjamin Harrison, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and then governor of the Territory of Indiana, invited the brothers to a council at Vincennes, in August. Tecumseh appeared with four hundred well-armed warriors. The inhabitants were greatly alarmed at this demonstration of savage military power. Harrison was cool and cautious, while the bearing of the chief was bold and haughty. He refused to enter the place appointed for holding the council saying:
“Houses were built for you to hold councils in; Indians hold theirs in the open air.” He then took a position under some trees in front of the house, and, unabashed by the large concourse of white people before him, he opened the business with a speech marked by great dignity and native eloquence. When he had concluded, one of the governor’s aids said to him, through an interpreter, as he pointed to a chair by the side of General Harrison:
“Your father requests you to take a seat by his side.”
The chief drew his blanket around him and, standing erect, said, with a scornful tone:
“My father! The sun is my father, and the earth is my mother; on her bosom I will recline;” and he seated himself on the ground.
The chief declared it his intention to form a confederacy for the purpose of preventing any further cessions of lands to the white people, and to recover what had been ceded.
“Return those lands,” he said, “and Tecumseh will be the friend of the Americans. He likes not the English, who are continually setting the Indians on the Americans.” The governor replied that the lands had been received from other tribes, and that the Shawnees had no business to interfere. Tecumseh sprang to his feet, cast off his blanket and, with violent gestures, pronounced the governor’s
In the spring of 1811, the hostile savages began to roam over the Wabash region, in small parties, plundering the white settlers and friendly Indians.
Soon after the council at Vincennes, Tecumseh went South among the Creeks to extend the confederacy of the people of Indiana among them. There is a tradition among the Tuckabachees that Tecumseh, failing to enlist them in his enterprise, in his wrath said:
“When I return to the North, I will stamp on the earth and make it tremble.” When the effects of the earthquake of New Madrid were felt, the Tuckabachees said:
“Tecumseh has reached the North.”
The hostile demonstrations on the part of the Indians in Indiana alarmed the people of that territory, and General Harrison therefore took measures to increase his regular force. He warned the Indians to obey the treaty at Greeneville; but at the same time he prepared to break up the prophet’s establishment if necessary. In September, the prophet sent assurances to the governor that his intentions were pacific. About the same time, he dispatched a message to the Delawares, who were friendly, asking them to join him in a war against the United States, stating that he had taken up the tomahawk and would not lay it down but with his life, unless their wrongs were redressed. The Delaware chiefs immediately visited the prophet to dissuade him from commencing hostilities and were grossly insulted. On the 6th of November, 1811, Governor Harrison, with about nine hundred and fifty effective troops, composed of two hundred and fifty of the 4th Regiment U. S. Infantry, one hundred and thirty volunteers and a body of militia, being within a mile and a half of the prophet’s town, was urged to make an immediate assault upon the village; but this he declined, as his instructions from the president were positive not to attack the Indians as long as there was a probability of their complying with the demands of the government. The Indians, in the course of the day, endeavored to
The governor was well convinced of the hostility of the prophet. He believed that after attempting to lull his suspicions he intended to make a treacherous attack on the Americans. Little anticipation of a night attack was indulged, yet every precaution was taken to resist one if made. All the guards that could be used in such a situation, and all such as were used by Wayne, were employed on this occasion. That is, camp guards, furnishing a chain of sentinels around the whole camp at such a distance as to give notice of the approach of an enemy in time for the troops to take their position, and yet not far enough to prevent the sentinels from retreating to the main body if overpowered. The usual mode of stationing picket guards at a considerable distance in advance of the army or camp, would be useless in Indian warfare, as they do not require roads to march upon, and such guards would be inevitably cut off. Orders were given in the event of a night attack, for each corps to maintain its position at all hazards until relieved or further orders were given to it. The whole army was kept during the night in the military position called lying on their arms. The regular troops lay in their tents with their accoutrements on, and their guns at their sides. The militia had no tents, but slept with their clothes and bullet pouches on, and their guns under them, to keep them dry. The order of the encampment was a line of battle to resist a night attack; and so, as every man slept opposite to his post in the line, there was nothing for the troops to do, in case of an assault, but to rise and take their position a few steps in the rear of the fires around which they had reposed. The guard of the night consisted of two captains’ commands of forty-two men and of four non-commissioned officers each and two subalterns’ guards of twenty men and non-commissioned officers each—the whole amounting to about one hundred and thirty men, under command of a field officer of the day. The night was dark and cloudy, and after midnight there was a drizzling rain.
At four o’clock in the morning of Nov. 7, 1811, Governor Harrison, according to practice, had risen, preparatory to the calling up of the troops, and was engaged, while drawing on his boots by the fire, in conversation with General Wells, Colonel Owens, and Majors Taylor and Hurst. The orderly drum had been roused to sound the reveille for the troops to turn out, when there came the report of a sentry’s rifle on the left flank, followed by a score of shots, and the morning air rang loud with the wild war-whoops of savages.
In an instant the army was in line, the campfires were extinguished, and the governor mounted his horse and proceeded to the point of attack. Several companies had taken their places in the line within forty seconds after the report of the first gun, and in two minutes the whole army was ready for action; a fact as creditable to their own activity and bravery, as to the skill and energy of their officers. The battle soon became general, and was maintained on both sides with signal and even desperate valor. The Indians advanced or retreated by the aid of a rattling noise, made with deer hoofs, and persevered in their treacherous attack with an apparent determination to conquer or die on the spot. The battle raged with unabated fury and mutual slaughter until daylight, when a gallant and successful charge by the troops drove the enemy into the swamp, and put an end to the conflict.
Prior to the assault, the prophet had given his followers assurance, that, in the coming contest, the Great Spirit would render the arms of the Americans unavailing; that their bullets would fall harmless at the feet of the Indians; that the latter should have light in abundance, while the former would be involved in thick darkness. Availing himself of the privilege conferred by his peculiar office, and, perhaps, unwilling in his own person to test the rival powers of a sham prophecy and a real American bullet, he prudently took a position on an adjacent eminence; and, when the action began, he entered upon the performance of certain mystic rites, at the same time singing a war song. Soon after the engagement commenced, he was informed that his men were falling. He told them to fight on, it would soon be as he predicted; and then in, wilder and louder strains, his inspiring battle song was heard commingling with the sharp crack of the rifle and the shrill war-whoop of his brave but deluded followers. Some of the Indians who were in the conflict, subsequently informed the agent at Fort Wayne, that there were more than a thousand warriors in the battle, and that the number of wounded was unusually great. In the precipitation of their retreat, they left thirty-eight on the field. Some were buried during the engagement in their town. Others no doubt subsequently died of their wounds. Drake places their number in killed at not less than fifty.
Of the whites, thirty-five were killed in the action, and twenty-five died subsequently. The total number of killed and wounded was one hundred and eighty-eight,—probably as great and possibly greater than the loss of the Indians. Among the slain were Colonel Abraham Owen and Major Joseph Hamilton Davies of Kentucky.
Though the battle of Tippecanoe, considered as a conflict from the losses on each side, would to-day be regarded only as a skirmish, yet it had a great moral influence in restraining the savages in the northwest, and, but for the meddling of the British agents, a permanent peace with the Indians could have been established.
Harrison burned the prophet’s town. The prophet lost caste with his people. When reproached for his falsehoods, he cunningly told them that his predictions had failed of fulfilment, because, during his incantations, his wife touched the sacred vessels and broke the charm. His followers, superstitious as they were, would not accept such a flimsy excuse and deserted him, flying to secure hiding-places where the white man could not find them. After his town was burned, the prophet took shelter among the Wyandots.
The events in the northwest aroused a war spirit among the patriotic Americans, which could not be suppressed. Not only did British emissaries incite the Indians to make war, but British orders in council continued to be vigorously enforced. Insult was offered to the American flag by British cruisers, and the press of Great Britain insolently declared that the Americans “could not be kicked into a war.”
Forbearance ceased to be a virtue; it became cowardice. President Madison found himself the standard-bearer of his party, surrounded by irrepressible young warriors eager for fight. Like a cautious commander, he sounded a careful war note in his annual message to congress at the beginning of November, 1811. The young and ardent members of the house of representatives, who had elected Henry Clay, then thirty-four years of age, speaker, determined that indecision should no longer mark the councils of the nation. The committee on foreign relations, of which Peter B. Porter was chairman, intensified that feeling by an energetic report submitted on the 29th of November, in which, in glowing sentences, the British government was arraigned on charges of injustice, cruelty, and wrong. They said:
“To sum up, in a word, the great cause of complaint against Great Britain, your committee need only say, that the United States, as a sovereign and independent power, claims the right to use the ocean, which is the common and acknowledged highway of nations, for the purposes of transporting, in their own vessels, the products of their own soils and the acquisition of their own industry to any market in the ports of friendly nations, and to bring home, in return, such articles as their necessities or convenience may require, always regarding the rights of belligerents as defined by the established laws of nations. Great Britain, in defiance of this incontestable right, captures every American vessel bound to or returning from a port where her commerce is not favored; enslaves our seamen, and, in spite of our remonstrances, perseveres in these aggressions. To wrongs so daring in character and so disgraceful in their execution, it is impossible that the people of the United States should remain indifferent. We must now tamely and quietly submit, or we must resist by those means which God has placed within our reach.... The sovereignty and independence of these States, purchased and sanctified by the blood of our fathers, from whom we received them, not for
The report went over the land as fast as the mails in that day of stage coaches could carry it, and made a profound impression on the minds of the people. Resolutions, drawn in accordance with the spirit of the report, were appended to it, and these led to earnest debates. In these debates, the brilliant John C. Calhoun, then less than thirty years of age, engaged. It marked the beginning of his long and illustrious career. He made his maiden speech in favor of war, and charmed his listeners. John Randolph, always happy when in opposition to everybody, spoke vehemently against the report and resolutions.
The Federalists, having always advocated a policy of being prepared for war, could not from principle oppose these resolutions as they recommended only such preparations. The resolutions were adopted and bills prepared for augmenting the military force of the country.
The regular army was increased to twenty-five thousand men; also two major-generals and live brigadier-generals, in addition to those then in office were authorized. A million dollars were appropriated for the purchase of arms, ammunition and stores for the army, and four hundred thousand dollars for powder, cannon and small arms for the navy.
War was not yet declared, and, with a proper course of treatment from Great Britain, it would not have been; yet the war feeling of 1811 was strong. It needed but a breath to fan the flame to a terrible conflagration.
FERNANDO’S FRIEND GETS HIM INTO A SERIOUS SCRAPE.
In due time Fernando and Sukey were entered in the college. They were transferred to more comfortable quarters than the wretched inn of Mrs. Mahone. Terrence superintended everything and was, in truth, the good angel of the boys. He had a warm heart, was a genuine friend, and would have shed his last drop of blood for them; but Terrence was, after all, a young scamp, whose dearest friend was not free from a practical joke. His jokes often became serious affairs and involved himself as well as friends in trouble, though he never intended anything unpleasant.
Fernando had been in college but a few months, and was already making excellent progress, when one day Terrence came to his room and said:
“Me frind, d’ye want to see a bit of good society?”
Laying down a heavy mathematical work, Fernando smilingly answered:
“I don’t know, Terrence; I’ve hardly time for society.”
“What’s the need of worryin’ yer brains out over Latin, Greek and astronomy, when there’s my amount of fun to be had? Come; a little mite of society will brighten up yer ideas. Now listen to me, lad. There’s goin’ to be a big ball given at the mayor’s, and d’ye remimber the darlint little craythur ye met on the street that day?”
Remember her? of course Fernando remembered her. She had scarcely been out of his mind day or night since he had seen her. She had been the angel of his dreams, the princess of countless air castles; but he had never indulged a hope that he might see her again.
“Will she be at the ball, Terrence?”
“To be sure. It’s mesilf as heard it, and thin if ye’ll look over the Baltimore papers, ye’ll see her name Morgianna Lane, the daughter of Captain Felix Lane of Mariana, whose entree into society is to be the ninth, chaperoned by Madame Barnhart.”
Terrence Malone evinced a wonderful ability at picking up information on any question that took his fancy. He had a bold way of insinuating himself into people’s affections, for no one could dislike the light-hearted, merry Irishman.
“Now there is no need for ye to say ye won’t go, because ye will,” said Terrence. “It’s a grand occasion to be sure. One of his majesty’s ships o’ war is in port, and some of the officers from her will be there, every alderman in the town, some congressmen and ex-President Jefferson will be there.”
Fernando looked at him in amazement and, after a moment, he said:
“Terrence, if the ball is to be such a grand affair, please to inform me how we are to gain admission.”
“Now, me boy, lave that to me. Will ye go?”
“And ye don’t mind it if it’s a thrifle of an adventure, do yez?”
“That’s it. I always said ye was a lad after me own heart; but, Fernando, don’t yez say one word to Sukey. He’s too slow and careful. He might make trouble with us and upset all our plans.”
At first, Fernando, who hated anything like deceit, opposed secresy; but his Irish friend brought so many excellent arguments to bear, that he virtually carried his point.
“Terrence, I fear I will make an awkward figure in a ball room!” declared Fernando. “I am not accustomed to such things.”
“A glass or two of champagne will do it for ye.”
“But I never danced in my life.”
“I’ll teach ye mesilf, and, bedad, ye’ll be as foine a terpechorian artist be the toime, as will be at the ball.”
The last objection swept away, Fernando began secretly to take lessons in the waltz, cotillon and other dances of the day.
Whatever may be said against Terrence, one thing is quite certain, he was no bad dancing master, and Fernando was an apt pupil. Somehow, there was a spice of adventure in the escapade, which seemed to thrill Fernando with pleasure, and he entered into it with a zeal that was remarkable.
The English man-of-war in the harbor was the Xenophon, Captain Conkerall commander. The captain had some acquaintances and friends in Baltimore, and this event transpired before the war spirit became so strong that English officers dared not venture on shore. The captain and his officers were of course invited to the ball.
The day of the ball, the captain came ashore and was snugly quartered at the Baltimore House, getting ready for the affair.
The captain was in his room talking with some citizens of Baltimore and a congressman; a decanter and glasses were on a sideboard, and the captain’s face was somewhat flushed, when there entered a neat, well-dressed young gentleman, whose language and features were slightly Hibernian.
“I beg pardon, gintlemen, but this is Captain Conkerall? Sure I make no mistake, for the very bearin’ tells me he is a son of Neptune.”
As the captain was in full uniform, of course there was no trouble about recognizing him. The captain rose and, taking the hand of the young man, tried hard to remember where he had seen him before.
“Sure, ye don’t remember me. I am Lord Kildee, the son of the ould baron of Kildee Castle, who was a schoolmate of yer father.”
The captain, delighted at having so noted an acquaintance, took great pleasure in introducing a scion of such a noble family as Kildee. One would have thought, from Captain Conkerall’s manner, that he had been on intimate terms with the house of Kildee all his life, while in reality he had never until that moment known that there lived such a being as the Lord of Kildee. Wine and vanity work wonders, and the captain felt great pride in being recognized at Baltimore by Lord Kildee, whose father was, as the new acquaintance assured him, a member of the house of lords.
The visiting aldermen of the town and the congressman were introduced to the Lord Kildee, who had the air of a genuine nobleman, with just enough of the rich brogue to entitle him to the name of Irishman.
Would his lordship have a glass of wine with them. To be sure he would.
Captain Conkerall, who was expected to be the lion of the evening, indulged rather freely, and the more he indulged the more he had a desire to.
At last the congressman rose to make a speech. He was rather unsteady on his legs, but exceedingly eloquent on the question of Jefferson’s embargo act. He thought it an outrage designed to foster the unfortunate estrangement between the mother country and America. He, as a Federalist, had opposed Jefferson and Jeffersonianism.
How much longer his harangue might have lasted, no one could have told, but the captain was warned that the hour for the ball was drawing near, and he gently insinuated that the speech be deferred for an after-dinner talk. Just as the captain’s guests were on the point of retiring, Lord Kildee, by a gentle hint, suggested that if he had an invitation he would be glad to meet them at the ball. Of course so noted a person as Lord Kildee could not be neglected, and, as one of the invitation committee was present, he issued a ticket at once. Then the captain and his lordship were left alone.
His lordship hinted that he had much to say to the captain in confidence, having just come from the fleet of Vice Admiral Berkeley. Over their wine, he informed the captain that he was on intimate terms with the vice admiral and that the captain of the Xenophon was down for an early promotion. Captain Conkerall was delighted. He drank deep to the health of Vice Admiral Berkeley, Lord Kildee and himself. By this time, the captain was ready to drink to the health of anybody. The Lord Kildee, strange to say, imbibed very little, and soon the captain was insensible on the floor, while his lordship was as sober as a judge.
“Faith, it’s a dacint bit of work,” he said, eyeing the prostrate captain. “Now to the rest of the plan.”
Lord Kildee was none other than the rollicking Irish student Terrence Malone. In a few moments, he had divested the captain of his coat, trousers and vest, which, with his chapeau, he rolled up in a neat bundle and hurried away to his friend Fernando Stevens. The hour was late, and Fernando had almost given up going to the ball, when Terrence bolted into his room, his cheeks aglow with excitement.
“Here, me lad, don the royal robes at once. Begorra, it’s noblemen we are goin’ to be to-night!”
“What does this mean, Terrence?” Fernando asked, as Malone unrolled the bundle containing the elegant uniform of a British officer.
“Divil a question need ye be askin’; put on the uniform; it will fit ye to an exactness.”
In vain Fernando expostulated; his friend forced him into compliance, and, almost before he knew it, he was encased in a British uniform, and a handsome looking officer he made. Terrence then gave him a drink at his bottle to “steady his nerves,” and told him that it was one of the “divil’s own toimes” they would have.
Fernando, despite all his staid qualities and Puritanic instincts, loved an adventure which promised fun, and finally entered into the scheme with a zest second only to his friend. The very idea of playing a prank on the captain of a man-of-war was enough to induce him to engage in almost any enterprise. They managed to escape the house without being detected by Sukey, who was puzzling his brain over deep questions in philosophy, and hastened down the street to a carriage which Terrence engaged to take them to the mayor’s.
There was a ticket of admission in the captain’s vest, which Fernando used, and Lord Kildee had one for himself.
As Terrence contemplated his young friend, whom the uniform fitted as neatly as if he had grown in it, he declared that he was perfection.
Arrived at the door, Fernando, whose brain was in a whirl, found himself suddenly hurried up a flight of marble steps to the great vestibule where there was a flood of subdued light. The wine made him bold, reckless, and when he was introduced as Lieutenant Smither, of his majesty’s vice admiral’s flag-ship, he half believed he was that person and, assuming what he supposed to be the manner and carriage of so high an official, received the bows and smiles of the fair ladies assembled with the grace of a veteran seaman.
There were a few officers from the Xenophon present, among them a Lieutenant Matson, who was dividing his time between a very pretty girl and asking why Captain Conkerall was so late.
Fernando played his part remarkably well, considering that he was new in the role. Whenever he was in danger of “making a bad break,” Lord Kildee, who was the lion of the hour, was at hand to aid him, and with consummate grace and ease helped him through the worst difficulties. A few glasses of champagne made Fernando bolder.
At last he met that beautiful creature whom he had seen alight from the carriage and was introduced to Miss Morgianna Lane. Morgianna, young as she was, detected the deception. Fernando talked without reserve on any and every topic. Those he knew the least about, he discussed with most fluency, until he bid fair to become the centre of attraction.
When they were alone, Morgianna, with one of her sweetest smiles, said:
“I don’t believe you are an Englishman.”
“I’ll be honest with you, Miss Lane,” said he. “I am not.”
“Who are you?”
“If you will keep my secret, I will tell you all.” Morgianna, as fond of mischief as Terrence, agreed to do so, and he told her everything. She laughed until the tears coursed down her pretty cheeks. She said it was a good joke and as soon as she got home, she would tell her papa and he would, she knew, enjoy it.
“But you must not drink any more wine,” she added. “It affects your head.” Fernando admitted that he was not used to it, and he promised to desist. After waltzing for an hour with her and getting a tender squeeze of the hand, he restored her to an affable old lady who acted as Morgianna’s chaperon, and then Fernando retired to new conquests, his head in a whirl and his heart in a flutter.
Lord Kildee soon had him under his care and introduced him to some friends, among them Lieutenant Matson, who had early in the evening made so many unsuccessful attempts to attract Miss Lane’s favorable notice that Fernando had come to regard him as a dangerous rival. Despite the injunction of the fair Morgianna, he found himself half unconsciously quaffing three or four glasses to the good health of somebody; he really did not know whether it was King George or President Jefferson.
Fernando, naturally witty, soon ingratiated himself into this well occupied clique, and he dosed them with glory to their heart’s content. He resolved at once to enter into their humor, and as the wine mounted up to his brain, he gradually found his acquaintance and politics extending to every country and political creed.
“Did you know Thomas Matson of his majesty’s ship Spit-Fire?" asked the lieutenant.
“Tom Matson!” cried Fernando. “Indeed I did sir, and do still! and there is not a man in the British navy I am prouder of knowing.” Of course he had never heard of Thomas Matson until this moment.
“You don’t say, sir?” said the lieutenant in astonishment. “Has he any chance of promotion, sir?”
“Promotion!” cried Fernando, in well-feigned astonishment. “Why, have you not heard that he is already in command of a ship? You cannot possibly have heard from him lately, or you would have known that!”
“That’s true, sir; I have not heard from him since he quitted the Black Cloud in the South, I think they said for his health; but how did he get the step?”
“Why, as to the promotion, that was remarkable enough,” said Fernando, quaffing off a tumbler of champagne to aid his inventive faculties; but Fernando, despite his native shrewdness and wonderful inventive powers, was liable to get into trouble. He knew as little about a ship as a landlubber might be supposed to know, and his companion saw at once that he would make a mess of the story, so he came to his rescue by informing the assembly that a fine vocalist at the other end of the room was going to sing, and asked that the story be deferred until after the song. They all hurried away save Fernando, who, overcome by too deep potations, sank upon a sofa temporarily unconscious.
He was roused from his stupor by his companion shaking him and saying:
“Fernando, me boy, it’s a divil’s own mess ye are makin’ of this! Wake up and get out!”
He roused himself and looked about. The room they were in was a small apartment off the great saloon, and through the half-open folding-door, he could see that the festivities still continued. The music and gay forms of dancers reminded him where he was.
“Fernando, we’ve played this game jist as long as we can, successfully; we had better go.”
“I am ready,” and Fernando got up and started diagonally across the room, stepping with his feet very wide apart. The pretended Lord Kildee took his arm, and they got to the door, where Fernando missed his footing and went tumbling down the steps in a very undignified manner. His lordship, Kildee, having imbibed rather freely himself, kept him company, and for a few seconds they remained at the bottom of the flight, dividing their time between studying astronomy and the laws of gravitation.
Fernando had badly smashed the captain’s chapeau and one fine plume was gone. They had not gone far before they ran upon a watchman, who threatened to run them in; but the police of those days were as susceptible to a bribe as they are to-day, and after donating liberally to the cause of justice and protection, they were taken to their rooms instead of the calaboose.
Young Stevens had no definite recollection of how he ever got to bed; but he awoke next morning with a wretched headache and found himself in a red coat, with the epaulets and gold lace of an officer. By degrees, the whole thing came back to him.
Terrence came in a few moments later, a smile on his face, as he remarked they were in “the divil’s own scrape.”
“Why?” asked Fernando.
“We should have taken the clothes back to the captain.”
Fernando, who was in total ignorance of the manner in which the uniform was procured, asked:
“How did you get them?”
Terrence told him the whole story, and Fernando, despite his wretched headache, laughed until the tears coursed down his cheeks.
“That’s not all, me foine boy. The whole thing is out. The papers printed this morning are full of it. They say the captain was seen just before daylight goin’ down the street to his boat with a sheet wrapped about him.”
Again the youngsters roared. It was such a madcap frolic as students, utterly reckless of consequences, might engage in; but, after all, it was a serious affair. The clothes had to be returned; then the perpetrators of the outrage would be known at the college, and they might be expelled from the institution in disgrace.
The clothes were returned. That was a point of honor which Fernando insisted upon, as he would neither agree to steal or wear stolen goods. For a day or two he was indisposed, and good, honest Sukey was afraid his friend was “going to be real sick.” On the evening of the second day after their madcap frolic, Fernando told Sukey all about it and asked his advice. After the tall young westerner had heard him through, he said:
“Well, Fernando, I am sorry you were in the game at all; but you are in it, and now the best thing is to go to the college and make a clean breast of it to the president. It’s your first, you know, and then a fellow just from the woods like us is liable to stumble into bad scrapes. Make a clean breast of it and keep out of such games in the future.”
This was really the best advice that could have been given, and Fernando, after consulting Terrence, decided to follow it. Consequently they all three presented themselves to the president of the faculty and, in the best way they could, laid the story before him. Terrence brought all the pathos and eloquence which he naturally possessed to the aid of his friend and got both of them off pretty well.
The old professor was one of the best-hearted men in the world, and when he came to contemplate the lonely condition of the boys so far from home, he forgave them freely, and Fernando went out of his presence resolved never to be guilty of another unseemly trick again.
“Now, if that divil’s own ship the Xenophon would only lave port, I’d fale better,” remarked Terrence as they wended their way to their rooms. Fernando could not see any harm the Xenophon could do them. The president of the college had forgiven them, and surely they need not care for the ship.
The students entered ardently into their studies, and Fernando tried to forget everything about the mayor’s ball save the beautiful face of Morgianna Lane. She was the only sweet picture in that wild dream, and he would not have forgotten her for the world. Time wore slowly on. A week had passed, and all the papers in the country were nagging the captain about going to his vessel in a winding sheet. A wag wrote some verses which must have been galling to the pride of the haughty Briton.
At last it leaked out that two students had played the trick on Captain Conkerall. A newspaper reporter came to see Fernando, who gave him a truthful history of the affair.
“You’ve played the divil now,” said Terrence, when he read the interview in the next issue of the Baltimore Sun.
“Never moind, Fernando, I’ll not desert ye, and if my one comes to ye about satisfaction, or inything of the kind, and asks you to mintion your frind, sind thim to Terrence Malone, and he will make the arrangements, that’s all.”
Fernando had no more idea what he meant than if he had addressed him in Hindoo, and he gave the matter little or no further thought. He was in his room poring over his books the second day after the interview, when there came a rap at his door.
“Come in!” he cried in his broad, western fashion.
The door opened, and, to his surprise, a young English officer entered the apartment.
“Is this Mr. Fernando Stevens?” he asked politely.
“I am the bearer of a message from Lieutenant Matson.”
“Pray who is Lieutenant Matson?”
“Of his majesty’s ship the Xenophon.”
Fernando thought he must be mistaken, as he had not the least recollection of ever hearing of Lieutenant Matson; but the ensign assured him that he was the person with whom the lieutenant had to deal, and then asked if he could refer him to some friend with whom the business might be arranged. Then the youthful American remembered Terrence Malone’s strange instructions and sent the ensign at once to the young Irishman.
Just how Terrence would settle the matter, he did not know; but he who had such remarkable ability for getting one into a scrape could surely devise some means to get him out, and Fernando was perfectly willing to trust him. So, deeming the matter wholly settled, he sat down to his books once more, and had actually forgotten the officer, when Terrence bolted into the room his face expressive of anxiety.
“It’s all arranged, me boy. Ye did right in lavin’ it to me. The young Britisher and I have made all arrangements.”
“Arrangements? what arrangements?” asked Fernando with guileless innocence.
“Arrangements for the meeting, to be sure.”
“Meeting with Lieutenant Matson.”
Throwing down his book, Fernando started up impatiently said:
“I don’t want to meet the infernal lieutenant. I thought you had settled it.”
“So I did, and right dacintly, too. Now what weapons do ye want?”
“Weapons!” cried Fernando, the truth at last beginning to dawn upon him. “Great Heavens! Terrence, do you mean a duel?”
“Certainly, me frind, nothin’ ilse. There’s no way to get out of it, honorably.”
Fernando reeled as if he had been struck a blow. He had read of duels, but, in the solitude of his western home on the farm, he had never known of any. They were the bloody inventions of more polite civilization. One had been fought between two trappers at a trading post, not over forty miles away, in which rifles at thirty paces were used, and both men were killed. The preacher had said it was murder. Fernando was brave; but he shrank from a duel, and it was not until his pride had been appealed to, that he determined to fight. Then Terrence assured him the lieutenant’s friend was waiting; all that was wanting was the weapons.
“I must talk with Sukey.”
Sukey was sent for, and when the tall, lanky fellow entered the apartment, Fernando told him all.
“Don’t you be in the game, Fernando. Let me tell you, don’t you be in it,” Sukey answered.
But he was informed that he must, or be forever disgraced. Besides, his enemy was a hated Briton, whom their country was almost on the verge of war with, and it would not be a bad thing to kill him in advance.
“Well, if you must be in the game, Fernando, fight with hatchets. You know you used to throw a hatchet twenty steps and split a pumpkin every time. Fight with hatchets.”
It was a novel mode of dueling; but Terrence took the proposition to the lieutenant’s friend. The Briton said his friend was a gentlemen, willing to fight with any of the weapons which civilized gentlemen used, and if Mr. Stevens would not consent to the same, the lieutenant would publish him as a barbarian and a coward. Pistols were settled on as a compromise, and Terrence went away to settle the final arrangements. He returned with a smile on his face and, rubbing his hands, said:
“Cheer up, me boy, it’s all settled.”
“What? won’t we fight?”
“Yes, it’s settled that you will fight.”
For a long time, Fernando was silent, and then he said:
“When will it take place, Terrence?”
“To-morrow morning at sunrise.”
Fernando did not go to school that day. Sukey was enjoined to keep the matter a secret, and he went to his classroom as if nothing unusual were about to happen. Fernando spent the day in writing letters to be sent home in case he should not survive the affair which, after all, he believed to be disgraceful. Dueling he thought little better than murder; but he was in for it and determined not to show the white feather. Don’t blame Fernando, for he lived in a barbarous age, when the “code of honor” was thought to be honorable. His chief remorse was for his madcap, drunken freak, which had been the provocation for the event, and yet, when he came to think of the ludicrousness of his adventures, he smiled.
More than once on that gloomy day he thought of Morgianna, whom in reality he loved at first sight. Would he ever see her again, or was she only the evening star, which had risen on the last hours of his existence? When Sukey returned, he held a long interview with him and gave him a bundle of letters and papers to send home if—he could not finish the sentence.
“Ain’t there no way to get out of it, Fernando?” asked Sukey, his droll face comical even in distress.
“Well, now that you’re in the game, just shoot that infernal Englishman’s head right off his shoulders, that’s my advice. I’ve read lots about duels, and it all depends on who is quickest at the trigger. Take good aim and don’t let him get a second the advantage of you.”
They went to bed early, and Fernando slept soundly. It was Terrence who awoke them and said it would not do to be late. He had engaged a sailor called Luff Williams to take them in his boat to the spot, a long sandy beach behind a high promontory some five or six miles from the city. The spot was quite secluded, and Terrence declared it a love of a place for such little affairs.
“What are ye thinkin’ of, Fernando?” asked Terrence, when the boat with the three young men was under way.
“I’m thinking, sir, if I were to kill him, what I must do after.”
“Right, my boy; nothing like it; but 1811 will settle all for ye. I don’t believe, now that America is on the verge of war with the British, that my one will make much of a row for killin’ the murdherin’ baste. Are ye a good shot?”
“I am with a rifle; but I never could do anything to speak of with a pistol.”
“I don’t moind that. Ye’ve a good eye; never take it off him after you’re on the ground; follow him everywhere. I knew a fellow in Ireland who always shot his man that way. Look without winkin’; it’s fatal at a short distance—a very good thing to learn, when ye’ve a little spare time.”
As they came in sight of the beach where the duel was to be fought, they perceived, a few hundred yards off, a group of persons standing on the sands, whom they recognized as their opponents.
“Fernando,” said Terrence, grasping his arm firmly, as if to instill into him some of his own hope and confidence, “Fernando, although you’re only a boy, I’ve no fear of your courage; but this Lieutenant Matson is a famous duelist, and he will try to shake your nerve. Now remember that ye take everything that happens quite with an air of indifference; don’t let him think he has iny advantage over ye, and you’ll see how the tables will be turned in your favor.”
“Trust me, Terrence, I’ll not disgrace you,” Stevens answered.
“You are twelve minutes late, Mr. Malone,” said the ensign, who acted as the lieutenant’s second; “but we shall all be able to get back to breakfast—those that will care to eat.”
Not to be outdone, Terrence said:
“All will be at supper; but your friend will be where he is eaten, rather than eats.”
“Don’t be too sure; the lieutenant has killed his sixth man in affairs like this.”
The remark was of course intended for Fernando’s ears. Sukey heard it and said:
“Fernando, that’s a lie; don’t you believe it. Aim at his plaguy head, and you can hit it. You used to snuff a candle that distance.”
Fernando smiled while he kept his eye on the lieutenant. That smile and that eternal stare disconcerted the English officer, and he turned a little pale. There was something about the imperturbable youth which made him dread the meeting. Fernando was strangely, unnaturally calm. Ten minutes more, and he might be in eternity.
THE BELLE OF THE BEACH.
No experienced duelist ever entered into the business with more earnestness or zeal than Terrence Malone. He and the lieutenant’s second were some distance away settling points of position, he saw three or four men in the uniform of British officers coming around the bluff, among them the ship’s surgeon with a case of instruments and medicines in his hand. Captain Conkerall, though the real injured party, was not on the scene. His lieutenant readily took up his quarrel, on account of his jealousy of Fernando who had completely usurped his place as the favorite of Miss Morgianna Lane.
Arrangements were made at last, and Terrence came to his friend, took his arm and walked him forward.
“Fernando, me boy, we’ve loaded the pistols. He loaded this and I the one for the lieutenant, I put in a thumpin’ heavy charge, so he’ll overshoot, I am to give the word; but don’t look at me at all. I’ll manage to catch the lieutenant’s eye, and do ye watch him steadily, aim at his middle and fire when he does, and all will be right.”
They were all the while moving to the place selected for the duel.
“I think the ground we are leaving behind us is rather better,” said someone. “So it is,” answered the lieutenant with a sneer; “but it might be troublesome to carry the young gentleman down that way; here all is fair and easy.”
In a few moments they were at the spot; the ground was measured off, and each man was placed, and Fernando thought there was no chance for either escaping.
“Now thin,” said Terrence. “I’ll walk twelve paces, count ’one, two, three, fire!’ and you are both to fire at the word ‘fire.’ The man who reserves his shot or shoots a second before falls by my hand!”
This stern injunction seemed actually to awe the Britons, and Fernando fancied that he saw the lieutenant trembling. It was only fancy however. The lieutenant was really calm. Notwithstanding the advice of Terrence, Fernando could not help turning his eyes from the lieutenant to watch the figure of his retiring friend. At last he stopped—a second or two elapsed—he wheeled rapidly around. Fernando now turned his eyes toward his antagonist.
Lieutenant Matson was a slender man, and when he turned his right side toward Fernando, he was not much thicker than a rail.
Fernando watched his opponent, and, at the word, raised his pistol and fired. His hat flew from his head, the crown torn completely out, while his antagonist leaped into the air, clapped his hand to the seat of his trousers and fell howling upon the ground. The people around Fernando all rushed forward, save Sukey, who came to his friend and, seeing that he was unhurt, began a mild reproof:
“Why didn’t you aim higher, Fernando?”
Terrence came back a moment later and, bursting into laughter, said:
“Begorra! this will interfere with his sedentary habits for a month. Arrah, me boy, it’s proud o’ ye I am.”
Fernando caught two or three glances thrown at him with expression of revengeful passion. Half a score of marines were seen coming around the rocks, and Terrence left off laughing. The three were alone against five times their number.
Fernando felt some one grasp him around the waist and hurry him from the spot, and ten minutes later they were in the boat skimming over the water back toward Baltimore.
“Put on ivery divilish stitch o’ canvas yer tub ’ll carry,” said Terrence to Luff Williams. “The Johnny Bulls won’t like this a bit, and bad luck to us if they git their hands on us.”
Fernando, now that the nervous strain was over, sank back in the boat, almost completely exhausted.
“Fernando, ye did it illegintly,” said the young Irishman.
“Will he die?”
“Not unless the doctors kill him trying to dig it out.”
“I hope they won’t.”
“What the divil’s the difference? Before this toime next year, we’ll be shootin’ redcoats for sport.”
“Say, what’s that, shipmate?” drawled out Luff Williams.
“A long boat full o’ British marines!” cried Terrence. “Boys, I don’t like that. Mr. Luff Williams, if ye want a whole skin over yer body pull about and sail down the coast like the divil was after ye!”
In less than two minutes’ time their craft was put about and went flying before the wind, under a full stretch of canvas. The boat impelled by eight stout oarsmen pressed hard in their wake.
“Heave to! heave to!” cried an officer in the pursuing boat. “Heave to, or we will fire on you!”
“Niver mind him, me frind,” said Terrence to the man at the rudder. “I’ll tell ye when to lay low.”
They were in long musket shot distance, and Williams assured them that if they could round a headland, they would get a stiffer breeze and outsail their pursuer.
“Are they gaining on us?” Fernando asked.
“Not much, if any,” was the response.
Again the officer in the bow, making a speaking trumpet of his hands, shouted:
“Heave to, or I swear I’ll fire on you!”
“To the divil with you,” roared Terrence. “We’ve downed one redcoat in fair light; what more do ye want, bad luck to ye?”
The officer spoke to some one behind him, and a musket was handed him.
Terrence sprang to the stern saying:
“Now look out! lay low, ye lubbers! the blackguard’s goin’ to shoot!”
The officer raised his musket, and a moment later a puff of smoke issued from the muzzle.
“Down!” cried Terrence. All laid low, and the next second the report of a musket came on the air, and a bullet dropped in the water, a little to the larboard.
“They are coming agin,” cried Terrence.
“Haven’t you sweeps which we could work?” asked Fernando.
There was a pair of sweeps in the craft, and Terrence and Fernando manned them. Though Fernando was a little awkward at first, he soon came to use the sweep quite effectively and helped the little craft along.
“Do we gain on them?” asked Fernando.
“Not much, if any;” the helmsman answered.
At this moment, three or four muskets were fired from the boat, and the balls whistled among the sails or spattered in the water. Should they meet with one of those sudden calms which frequently overtook vessels off the bay, they knew they would be lost. The British marines were laying to their oars right lustily, and the boat flew over the waves.
“Have you no arms in the boat?” asked Fernando.
“Nothin’ but a fowlin’ piece and some goose shot.”
“Just the thing for me!” declared Sukey. “I was always good at killin’ geese on the wing.”
Sukey hunted up the gun and loaded both barrels heavily with shot and slugs. Then he took up his post in the stern, ready to rake the long boat fore and aft, should it come within range of his formidable gun. The officer and three or four marines continued to load and fire, until the boat was out of the harbor, when a strong breeze struck her sails and sent her spinning over the water.
“Huzzah! huzzah! we are gainin’ on’ em now!” cried Sukey, flourishing his gun in the air.
The British fired half a dozen more shots at the fleeing boat; but the bullets began dropping behind. They were out of reach of their longest range muskets.
“There ain’t no danger now,” declared Sukey. “They are not in the game.”
The breeze continued strong, and the little craft boldly cleft the waters, as it sped forward over the bounding waves.
“It’s no use to be wearing ourselves out, Fernando,” said Terrence. “The good breeze is doin’ more for us than a hundred oars could do.”
They put in their sweeps and, mounting the rail aft, clung to rigging, and shouted derision and defiance at their pursuers.
Although the Britons had little hope or expectation of overtaking them, yet, with that bull-dog tenacity characteristic of Englishmen, they continued the chase.
“That danger is over,” said Terrence, as they once more resumed their seats in the boat.
“What would they have done with us, Terrence, had they captured us?”
“Faith, it’s hard telling; but I think we’d found it unpleasant.”
“Wasn’t the fight fair?”
“As fair as iver one saw; but, begorra, it didn’t turn out the way they expected.”
“Why, la sakes, they didn’t think Fernando was goin’ to miss, did they?” said Sukey. “He ain’t been shootin’ squirrels out o’ the tallest trees in Ohio for nothin’.”
“This lieutenant thought he was going to have some sport with a greenhorn.”
“Can you see them yet?” asked Fernando of Williams, who sat well up in the stern holding the helm.
“How far are they away?”
“Two or three miles.”
“And still a-coming?”
“Plague take ’em!” growled Sukey, “why do they follow us so persistently?”
“May be they think to get us when we go ashore; but, bad luck to thim, they’ll find it tough if they come afther us.”
“Fernando, I wish we had our rifles,” growled Sukey. “Wouldn’t we make it unprofitable for the redcoats!”
Fernando was rather non-communicative, and sat in the bow of the boat lost in painful meditation. He had shed blood. It was the first, and, although in that age it was thought highly honorable, he felt an inward consciousness that dueling was both cowardly and brutal. Fear of being branded a coward had nerved him to face the pistol of his antagonist. It is not true courage that makes the duelist. There is no more honor, gentility, or courage in dueling than in robbing a safe. The greatest coward living may be a burglar, so he may, from fear of public scorn, fight a duel. Fernando had much to regret. He felt that his social standing had been lowered; yet he was happy in the thought that the duel had had no fatal results. Could he ever return to the school? Could he ever return to his home and face his Christian mother? He was roused from his painful reverie by a loud laugh on the part of Terrence. He turned his eyes toward the jolly fellow and found him convulsed with mirth.
“What ails you, Terrence?” he asked.
“Did you aim at the spot you hit?”
“No; I aimed at a more vital part; but, thank God, I missed, and now I am happy.”
“It’s more than the lieutenant is, I’m thinkin’.”
“But, Terrence, the most serious question is, what are we going to do?”
“Now that’s sensible. Let me see, Misther Williams, what’s the nearest port? Isn’t there a town above on this coast?”
“Yes, not more than ten miles away around that point o’ land we’ll find a willage.”
“Why not put in there?”
“Yes, we kin; but, hang it, how am I a-goin’ to git back to Baltimore?”
“Oh, that’s aisy enough. Run in after night.”
“Yes, an’ be sunk by the blasted Britishers!”
“He won’t know ye after dark.”
“But, Terrence, what are we to do?” asked Fernando.
“It’s do, is it?—faith, do nothin’!”
“But the academy?”
“It will get along without us.”
“But can we get along without it?”
“Aisy, me frind; don’t be alarmed. We’ll be back in a week or a fortnight at most. It will all blow over, and no one will ask us any questions. Lave it all to me.”
Fernando had almost come to the conclusion that he had left too much to his friend. Terrence had only got him out of one scrape into another, until he had come to mistrust the good judgment and sound discretion of his friend. Not that he doubted the good intentions of Terrence. He had as kind a heart as ever beat in the breast of a young Irishman of twenty-three; but his propensity to mischievous pranks was continually getting him and his friends into trouble.
Fernando went to the fore part of the boat and sat by Sukey.
For a few moments both were silent. Fernando was first to speak.
“Sukey, how is all this to end?” he asked with a sigh.
“I don’t know,” Sukey answered, in his peculiar, drawling way. “We needn’t complain, though; because we came out best so far.”
“But it was terrible, shooting at him. I might have killed him.”
“He might have killed you, and that would have been worse.”
“I never thought of that.”
“No doubt he did.”
“I wish we were back in the college; but I greatly fear we will be expelled in disgrace. It would kill our mothers.”
“No; I think they would get over it; but I tell you, Fernando, my opinion is, it don’t make much difference.”
“The United States and England are going to fight. I got a paper last night, and it was chock full of fight, and as for your shootin’ the lieutenant, I am sure everybody, even your mother and the faculty, will be glad of it. I only blame you for one thing.”
“What is that, Sukey?”
“When you had such a good chance, why didn’t you aim higher?”
The expression on Sukey’s face was too ludicrous for even the young duelist, and he laughed in spite of himself.
“Helloa, there’s the town,” cried Sukey, as they rounded a headland and entered the mouth of a broad bay, standing in toward a beautiful village. This village has wholly disappeared. Railroads shunned it, and the water traffic being too small to support it, it degenerated into a village of fishermen, which, in 1837, was totally destroyed by fire, and has never been rebuilt. Before the war of 1812, it was a neat, flourishing little town.
“Is this the town you were spakin’ about?” asked Terrence of the boatman.
“What place is it?”
“Mariana,” repeated Fernando, “I have heard that name before. Where was it? Mariana,—Mariana.”
Terrence came forward to his companions and said:
“Now, lads, like as not the frinds of Matson may be afther following us. Lave it all to me. We’ll change our names and go up to the tavern, where we’ll hire rooms and be gintlemen traveling for pleasure.”
“Would they dare follow us on shore?”
“No; I think not; but if they should, my plan will answer.”
When they ran into shore, Terrence paid the boatman and discharged him. Terrence was the son of a rich Irish merchant in Philadelphia, who kept his son liberally supplied with money, who, with corresponding liberality, spent it.
Terrence felt that this was his scrape, and he resolved to bear the expenses.
With his friends, he went to the tavern, where they engaged rooms. Fernando and Sukey retired to their rooms, while Terrence remained in the tap-room, where there was a crowd of Marylanders. He began telling them a most horrible story of the impressment of himself and his friends by a British vessel and of their recent escape. He stated that they had been closely pursued, and he would not be surprised if the Britishers sent a boat on shore to take them away.
He could not have chosen a better theme to inflame those Marylanders. One tall, raw-boned man, who carried a rifle and bullet pouch with him, said:
“Boys, that reminds us mightily o’ Dick Long.”
Every Marylander assembled in the tap-room knew the sad story of poor Dick Long. He was a fisherman with a wife and four children and was loved by all who knew him. Dick was honest and peaceable, kind-hearted and brave. One day his fishing smack was driven by a gale some distance out at sea, when a British cruiser captured him, and he was impressed into his majesty’s service. Dick managed after many weary months to get a letter to his wife. At Halifax, he tried to desert, was caught, brought back and lashed to the “long tom” and received a flogging with the cat-o’-nine-tails. He struck the cruel boatsman, and was lashed to the mast and flogged until he died. A deserter from the ship brought home his dying words, which were these: “Tell my American brothers to avenge me.”
“Remember Dick Long, boys, and ef they come to Mariana, let us make ’em wish they had stayed away.”
The artful Terrence kindled the flame, and a short time after sunset, Fernando and Sukey were awakened from a doze by hearing a wild uproar on the streets. They sprang to their feet and ran to the window.
Fifteen or twenty officers and seamen had just landed and were making their way toward the public house, when they were assailed by a hundred infuriated Marylanders with sticks, clubs, stones, dirt, old tin buckets and almost every conceivable weapon. The officer in command was trying to explain that their intentions were pacific, that, after rowing for ten hours against the wind and tide, they were tired and hungry; but the inexorable Marylanders continued to shout:
“Dick Long, Dick Long! Don’t forget Dick Long!”
Now there was not one of those Britons who had ever heard of Dick Long before, and they could not conceive what that had to do with their landing; nor was this the boat crew which chased our friends; yet Terrence continued to agitate the matter. The truth is Terrence had personally declared war against Great Britain in advance of the United States and had commenced hostilities.
“Down with the bloody backs!” he cried. “Drive thim into the bay.”
The officers were forced to return to their boats and, tired as they were, pull down the coast to Baltimore.
Next morning, Fernando rose early and, after breakfast, went out alone to look about the village. It was located in a picturesque and beautiful spot. On the East was the broad bay and sea. On the West were undulating hills covered with umbrageous forests. To the South were some promontories and romantic headlands, against which the restless waters lashed themselves into foam. On a hill about a fourth of a mile from the village, was a large, elegant mansion built of granite, looking like a fairy castle in the distance. A broad carriage-drive, leading through an avenue of chestnuts, led up to the great front gate. The mansion was almost strong enough for a fort and was surrounded by a stone wall five feet high, with an iron picket fence on top of this.
“Who lives in the great house on the hill?” Fernando asked a man.
“Old Captain Lane.”
“Captain Lane. I have heard of him. Has he a daughter?”
“It’s the same,” he thought, as he wandered away to the beach. “What strange providence has brought me here?” Fernando’s regrets were in a moment changed to rejoicing. He was glad he had quarrelled with the lieutenant and had been driven away to Mariana.
He went to the tavern and informed Sukey of his discovery and said:
“I am going to contrive in some way to speak with her again.”
“Well, don’t take that plaguey Irishman in the game, Fernando,” said Sukey. “If you do, he’ll make a precious mess o’ the whole thing.”
Terrence was enjoying himself. Before he had been in the town two days, he knew every person in it. All were his friends, and he was quite a lion. Terrence only hoped that a man-of-war would come to Mariana. He vowed he would lead the citizens against her, capture the ship and keep her for coast defence of Maryland.
It was the fourth day after their arrival, that, as Fernando was strolling alone according to his habit on the beach, his eyes fixed on the sands meditating on the recent stirring events, he suddenly became conscious of some one a short distance down the beach. He looked, up and saw a young lady with a parasol in one hand tripping along the sands, now and then picking up a shell. In an instant he knew her. His heart gave a wild bound and then seemed for a instant to stand still. Then it commenced a rapid vibration which increased as she approached. She was coming toward him, all unconscious of his presence and only intent on securing the most beautiful shells.
Suddenly, raising her eyes, she saw a handsome young man close to her. He tipped his hat, smiled and said: “Good morning, Miss Lane.”
“Oh, it’s you, is it?” she answered with a little laugh. “Why, I declare, how you frightened me!”
“I am sorry for it.”
“Never mind; I will survive the shock; but I know why you came to Mariana,” and there was a roguish twinkle in her blue eyes.
“Yes, you fought the lieutenant and had to run away.”
“Miss Lane, how did you learn this?”
“Learn it! Don’t you know the papers are full of it? Papa read it this morning at breakfast, and he laughed until he cried. Where is that Irishman who gets you into so many funny scrapes?”
“He is at the tavern.”
“Well, papa says he must see you. He has fought duels in his day, and he thinks you a splendid shot; but it was naughty of you to fight without consulting me. He might have killed you.”
Fernando was now the happiest man on earth.
“Miss Lane, don’t think because I did not consult you, I did not think of you. You were in my mind as much as any other person at that trying ordeal, unless it was my mother.”
“Oh, don’t grow sentimental. Now that it is all over and not much harm done, let us laugh at it;—but I want to scold you.”
“You did not obey me on that night. I told you to drink no more wine, and after I left, you drank too much, which provoked the quarrel.”
Fernando, who really had no clear idea of the subject-matter of the quarrel, answered:
“I plead guilty, Miss Lane, to being disobedient. Forgive me, and I promise to make amends in the future. Do you know him, Lieutenant Matson?”
“Know Lieutenant Matson? Certainly I do; I have known him for four years. Father has known him longer.”
[Illustration: “YOU SURRENDER EASILY.”]
“Does he ever come here?”
“If he comes while I am here, we will have the fight out.”
“No you won’t.”
“I forbid it.”
“Then I yield.”
“You surrender easily,” and the saucy blue eyes glanced slyly at his face. Fernando was at a loss for some answer. Suddenly she broke in with:
“I must go now. There, I see father on the hill. Won’t you come to tea this evening? Father would like so much to see you.”
Of course he would. He stammered out his thanks, while the fairy-like creature tripped away across the sands, leaving him in a maze of bewilderment. At the crest of the hill, she paused to wave her handkerchief, smiled with ravishing sweetness, and disappeared over the hill with her father.
THE ENGLISHMAN’S DILEMMA.
Morgianna Lane was the brightest gem in the little Maryland village. The romantic mystery which enshrouded her birth seemed only to add to the charm about her. Of course Fernando could not long be in the village without learning that she was not the daughter of Captain Lane, but a sea waif.
Frequently foundlings have some birth mark or scar about them, or there is some letter or significant mark about their clothing by which in after years they may be identified and their parentage made known; but in the case of Morgianna there was no probability of her identity ever being discovered. Her plump little arms were utterly devoid of scar or mark; the clothes found upon the infant had no initial whatever, and were cast aside, just as other worn-out garments.
Fernando Stevens, in due time, called on Captain Lane, whom he found to be as jolly an old Jack Tar as lives. He was greatly amused at the escapade of the student, but cautioned him against his Irish friend.
“I have no doubt this Terrence Malone is a good, noble young fellow; but he has too much native mischief in his composition, and will get you from one scrape into another with marvellous regularity. I don’t mean that you should cut him adrift; but though you sail in company with him, do not allow him to get too far windward of you. When you see he’s going to fly right into the teeth of some rash fate, get on the other tack, that’s all. You did honorably, however, in fighting the duel with Lieutenant Matson, even if he is my friend.”
“Is he your friend?”
“Yes; his father and I shipped afore the mast when we were boys together. When the war broke out, he entered the British navy while I went aboard a Yankee privateer. I am glad to say we never met in battle.”
Fernando felt himself growing just a little bit uneasy. He did not like this friendship between the captain and Lieutenant Matson; and he could see that the old seaman was glad the lieutenant’s wound was not fatal.
What strange emotion stirred the Ohio student’s soul, when he met the soft eyes of Morgianna, words cannot express. She talked on a variety of subjects, and at times Fernando flattered himself that she was pleased to have him with her; but the next moment he reasoned that it might be only her good breeding which made her appear to tolerate him. Fernando was not foolish enough to be conceited. He lived in hope and doubt and was the happiest man at times, and at others the most miserable. Though he took Sukey into his confidence, Fernando was a little shy of Terrence.
The reader will remember that Terrence had, on entering the village, suggested the propriety of going under assumed names. Fernando had forgotten, if he ever knew, that he was registered at the tavern as Mr. Phil. Magrew of Hartford, and that good, innocent Sukey was George Molesworth, while Terrence was Larry O’Connor, a name quite in keeping with his nationality. A ludicrous mistake, which came near being fatal to Fernando’s respectability at Mariana, resulted from this incident.
They had been a week at the tavern, and Fernando, who had lived a thousand years of alternating bliss and agony in that short period, was sitting in the bar-room in front of a great roaring fire, which the chill evening of early autumn made comfortable, utterly oblivious of the grumbling of the landlord, who was saying:
“When people stay a whole week ’thout any luggage, it be high time they pay up. I wonder Mr. Magrew don’t take notice on’t.”
The supposed Mr. Magrew, however, did not hear what he said. He was gazing into the blazing fire, weaving bright pictures from which the eyes of Morgianna seemed gazing at him. Fernando had forgotten the academy, home, parents and all in this new inspiration. Terrence and Sukey entered while the landlord was still grumbling and looking hard at Fernando, who was utterly oblivious of his wrath.
“Mister Magrew, be ye a man o’ honor?” demanded mine host; but “Mr. Magrew” was as indifferent as a statue of stone. “The wagabond sits there an’ hears himself abused an’ be too heedless to answer. By the mass, I will even tweak his nose! Magrew—Magrew—I’ll wake you!”
All the while Terrence, Sukey, and everybody else was wondering whom the enraged landlord meant. Suddenly Terrence recollected that he had registered Fernando under the name of Philip Magrew. He hastened to meet the landlord before he reached Fernando, and thus prevented a collision, which would have been violent indeed.
“Me frind, the honorable Misthur Magrew, is hard o’ hearing,” explained the Irishman in an undertone.
“Be hard o’ hearin’? then he be hard o’ payin’ too,” answered the landlord. “He ’ave been a whole veek in my ’ouse and not one pickyunne ’ave paid.”
“Lave all to me,” said the Irishman in his conciliatory manner, gently leading the landlord to another part of the room. “Ye see me frind, knowing his infirmity, asked mesilf to pay all bills for Misthur Magrew, and he gave me the money, I clear forgot it, or I should have paid you.”
Then Terrence drew forth a well-filled purse, which greatly mollified the landlord, and when all differences were squared, he was completely satisfied, smiling and agreeable.
Thus Fernando passed over a dangerous period in his life and never knew how near he came having his nose pulled; nor did the landlord ever know how near he came to being knocked down for such an attempt.
Morgianna had spoken on one occasion of the beauty of moonlight on the seashore, and Fernando was bold enough to ask the pleasure of rowing herself and father to the headlands some evening. She assented. The old sailor had a friend visiting at his house, an old ex-sea-captain like himself, and the four decided to make the voyage across the little bay and sit for an hour on the rocky promontory and listen to the “dashing waves.” Fernando willingly welcomed the acquaintance as a fourth to the party, for he was shrewd enough to see that the old sailors would be so wholly engrossed with each other, that they would scarcely notice the young people, and Morgianna and he would be left quite to themselves.
Fernando, though an amateur at the oar, would on no account be dissuaded from rowing the small boat to the promontory; and, having helped Morgianna, who was lightest, into a seat in the bow (inexpressible happiness) he cheerfully took his seat at the oars with the old men in the stern facing each other. Then the little craft was cast loose, and the young westerner bent to his oars and sent the boat swiftly through the water. Of course Fernando’s back was toward Morgianna, and he could not see her, save when he twisted his head “quite off,” which he did frequently; but he could hear her silvery voice humming snatches of a song, or her dimpled hand playing in the phosphorescent water which sparkled like flashes of fire in their wake. The old men kept up a continual talk, for which Fernando was exceedingly grateful. Finally the promontory was gained, and in a quiet little cove Fernando beached his boat and, springing out, took the small, white hand of Morgianna and assisted her to the dry sands, so gallantly that her dainty little slippered foot did not touch the water.
Then the whole party ascended the hill to the opposite side of the promontory where the sea was beating furiously. Fernando was almost beside himself with joy to find Morgianna clinging to his arm in the ascent, and to hear her sweet voice in low, gentle tones breathing in his ear. It was a fine, clear night, and for all her lowness of spirits, Morgianna kept looking up at the stars in a manner so bewitching that Fernando was clear out of his senses, and plainly showed that, if ever a man were over head and ears in love, that man was himself. The path they were ascending was quite steep, and Fernando could not help glancing at the pretty little hand, encased in a cream-colored kid glove, resting on his arm. If Fernando had known that an executioner were behind him with an axe raised, ready to cut off his head if he touched that hand, he could not have helped doing it. From putting his own right hand upon it as if by chance, and taking it away again after a minute or so, and then putting it back again, he got to walking along without taking it off at all, as if he, the escort, were bound to do that as an important duty, and had come for that purpose. The most curious thing about this little incident was, that Morgianna did not seem to know it. She looked so innocent and unconscious when she turned her eyes on Fernando, that it was quite provoking.
She talked about the sea, the hills, the rocks, the sky, the stars, while the old men went on ahead, and when she slipped on the verge of a precipice three feet high and came near falling into a pool of dirty water, and he saved her from the fall by his coolness and daring, she thanked him and told him how grateful she was that he was near, and he said something about how happy he would be to be always near her, to guard her footsteps along life’s rugged pathway. Then she said something to the effect that it would be pleasant if one could always have one’s friends near, and that she hoped they would always be friends from that time forth. And when Fernando said, “not friends” he hoped, Morgianna was quite surprised and said not enemies she hoped; and when Fernando suggested that they might be something better than either, Morgianna, all of a sudden, found a star, which was brighter than all the other stars, and begged to call his attention to the same, and was ten times more innocent and unconscious than ever.
In this way, they journeyed up the steep ascent, talking very little above a whisper, and wishing that the promontory was a dozen times higher—at least, such was Fernando’s wish—when they finally reached the top and saw the two old men under the lee cliff listening to the ocean’s hollow roar.
Fernando carried a robe and some wraps for Morgianna, and he conducted her to a sheltered spot below the first ledge of rocks, where he spread a robe for her to sit on, and then, with loving fingers that thrilled with each touch, adjusted the wraps about her shapely little shoulders. For a long time they sat listening to the wild roar of the angry waters below, gazing on the phosphorescent flashes, where the swelling waves broke in crested splendor on the well-worn rocks.
He was first to break the silence.
“Miss Lane,” he said, “had I known that Lieutenant Matson was your personal friend, I would have suffered disgrace rather than encountered him.”
With a smile, she answered:
“It all turned out right. The lieutenant was scarcely injured at all.”
“Have you heard of him?”
“I have heard from him,” she answered, glancing slyly at Fernando from the corners of her roguish eyes. “He wrote me a letter which I received to-day.”
Fernando felt a pain at his heart, but it was nothing to compare with the shame and mortification which followed. She informed him that Lieutenant Matson was so slightly wounded, that his seconds decided on a second fire, and sent a boat to inform them as they had left the beach, but that, although they chased the Americans for miles, they could not bring them back. Fernando was stunned by the information, and filled with mortification and chagrin.
“Do you think I am afraid to meet him again?” he asked, his voice trembling with ill-suppressed excitement.
“I don’t know; but you won’t, anyway—you are both my friends, and my friends shall not fight.”
Fernando made no answer, but at that moment he would very much have liked to knock her friend on the head. Of course a second meeting with the Briton would now have been highly pleasing to the student; but it was out of the question. The hour on the promontory was passed in alternating bliss and misery, and when the time came to return, he was no nearer the subject dearest of all subjects than before.
He hastened back to the tavern, where he found his Irish friend playing cards with the landlord and winning several weeks’ board in advance.
“Terrence, it is a fine fix you got me in by hurrying away from the sands so soon that morning,” he said angrily, when he got him to his room.
“Why, me boy, what d’ye mane?”
“That lieutenant was only slightly wounded, and that boat was chasing us to bring us back for another shot.”
“So ye’ve heard it at last, me frind?”
“Certainly I have, and now I will be branded as a coward.”
“Lave it all to me. The Britishers are in trouble enough. Sure, haven’t ye read the Baltimore papers? Captain Conkerall is to be tried by a court-martial for gettin’ bastely drunk and goin’ abroad with no garment but his shirt, and a sheet with a hole in it.” Terrence laughed until the tears trickled down his cheeks. Fernando could not see how he could help fighting the lieutenant again if he demanded satisfaction; but the Irishman was quite sure the lieutenant would have enough to do to keep his captain out of his dilemma. Sukey, who had entered during their conversation, said:
“Oh, Fernando, why didn’t you aim higher and blow his head off?”
“Why did the lieutenant challenge me, when the captain was the injured party?” asked Fernando.
Terrence explained that, while the Captain was really the injured party, it was a matter of courtesy that his officer lower in rank should take the quarrel upon himself, more especially as Fernando had been his successful rival at the ball. From this, the conversation gradually led to Morgianna herself, and Terrence laughed and winked; and called Fernando a lucky dog.
“Go in, me boy, and if ye nade any help, I am at hand.”
“I fear I have injured my prospects there,” said Fernando.
“By the duel. Lieutenant Matson is an old friend of the captain, and I believe a suitor for the hand of his daughter. What show has a schoolboy against a lieutenant in the English navy?—none.”
“Yes he has,” declared Terrence.
“What show can he have?”
“Lave it all to me, me frind, and I will bring ye out all right, see if I don’t.”
“I have left too many things to you, Terrence, and you have a most remarkable faculty for getting me into trouble.”
Terrence assured him that he would yet aid him to outgeneral the Englishman, and he only wished that he might come into port during their stay.
“Terrence, you must take no advantage of the public hatred of the English to accomplish your purpose. Remember, Lieutenant Matson is the son of Captain Lane’s friend. You might raise a mob and have him driven away; but I will not consent to it.”
“Indade, I don’t mane it, me boy. Lave it to me. If he comes ashore, faith, we’ll out-gineral him, sure.”
Next day there came letters for the runaways. Terrence’s father, being wealthy and influential, had gone to Baltimore, interceded with the faculty and had the runaway scapegraces retained. There were also letters from the parents of the young men, condemning, but at the time forgiving and warning them to be more careful in the future.
It was some distance by the road to Baltimore, and the boys decided to take passage in a coasting schooner which was loading with barley and would be ready to go in three days.
One morning, two days before their intended departure, Fernando, on going out upon the street, was surprised and really alarmed to see an English man-of-war anchored in the little harbor of Marianna. His uneasiness was greatly increased on reading the name Xenophon on the broad pennant floating from the main mast. His enemy was in port, and he could guess his object, especially when he saw Captain Lane’s carriage waiting on the sands while Lieutenant Matson was being rowed ashore. Fernando gnashed his teeth and there were some ugly thoughts in his heart.
Sukey who had come out hastened to his side and reading his thoughts said:
“Now don’t you wish you had aimed higher?”
The citizens, noticing the approach of an English war vessel, began to congregate in a large body on the north side of the village, and their demonstrations were decidedly hostile to the landing of the Briton. Suddenly Captain Lane appeared among them, waving his staff and shouting. Having gained their attention, the old sea-captain mounted the stile near the village store and said:
“Shipmates and friends, the man coming ashore is the son of a man whom I loved. I have sent my carriage down to bring him to my house where he is to be my guest. You have all heard me tell how his father saved my life. Would you injure him now, when he comes to pay me a friendly visit?” In a short time the crowd dispersed, and Lieutenant Matson landed, entered the carriage and was driven to the house of Captain Lane.
From the street, Fernando, with bitter feelings in his heart, saw the carriage ascend the hill. He turned about and entered the tavern, went to his room and shut himself up. Here he remained until the middle of the afternoon, when there came a knock at the door, and, on opening it, he was astonished to find one of the negroes of Captain Lane’s house. He was dressed in livery and held a note in his hand, which he gave to “Mistah Stevens,” bowed politely and awaited his answer.
The utter amazement of Fernando can better be imagined than described at finding the note from Miss Morgianna Lane inviting himself and his friends to tea that evening with themselves, Lieutenant Matson and ensign Post of his majesty’s ship Xenophon. Had Fernando been summoned to a command in his majesty’s navy, he could not have been more astonished. He hesitated a moment and then decided to accept. This Englishman should neither out-do him in generosity nor affrontery. Besides, the invitation came from Morgianna, and he could not refuse. He wrote a polite answer, accepting the kind invitation and went to find Sukey and Terrence. Sukey thought it would be a little odd for Fernando to meet a man with whom he had exchanged shots; but Terrence declared it was the only “dacint” thing to do. They were not “haythin,” to bear grudges.
Consequently they went. The minds of the Americans were filled with doubt and perplexity, while the Irishman was chuckling at a plan his cunning brain was evolving, and which he determined to put in execution. The Englishmen met the Americans very cordially, and Lieutenant Matson, who was every inch a gentleman, did not dare be other than genteel in the presence of the lady he loved; for he was as passionately in love with Morgianna as was Fernando. The lieutenant was of a romantic turn of mind, and the mystery of the sea waif had interested him. He was quite sure she was the daughter of some nobleman. He had read in romances so many cases similar to hers, that he could not believe this would turn out otherwise.
When Fernando and the lieutenant had shaken hands and mutually agreed to bury all past differences, had they not been rivals they might have become friends, for each recognized in the other some qualities that were admirable.
The beauty of a lovely woman is like music, rich in cadence and sweet in rhythm; but that beauty must be for one alone. It cannot, like music, be shared with others. The best of friends may, as rivals, become the bitterest foes. Fernando did not like the Englishman, for, with all his blandness, he thought he could observe a pompous air and self-consciousness of superiority, disgusting to sensible persons. This might have been prejudice or the result of imagination, yet he realized that he was in the presence of an ambitious rival, who would go to any length to gain his purpose.
The most careful and disinterested observer could not have discovered any preference on the part of Morgianna. When they came to the table, she had the lieutenant on one side and Fernando on the other. The old captain at the head engrossed much of Lieutenant Matson’s time talking about his father, greatly to the annoyance of the officer. When Matson came to take his seat at the table, Terrence, who sat on the opposite side of the lieutenant, whispered:
The lieutenant bit his lips and his face flushed angrily, while Sukey, who sat on the opposite side of the Irishman, snickered, and Morgianna bit her pretty lip most cruelly in trying to conceal the merriment which her roguish eyes expressed.
This was the only break made by the Irishman that evening. He played his part with consummate grace and had such a way of winning the favor of people, that, before the evening was over, the Englishman actually came to like him. He praised the country about Mariana, and talked of the harbors and islands, declaring he knew them all from Duck Island to the Chesapeake. He found Lieutenant Matson somewhat of a sport, and soon interested him in stories of duck shooting, all of which were inventions of his own ingenious brain. Miss Morgianna praised the wild ducks of Maryland and thought their flesh equal to English Capons. The lieutenant, in his gallantry, vowed she should have half a dozen brace of fowls before he left, and Terrence volunteered to assist him.
Fernando was amazed at the course of his friend. The man-of-war was to sail the same day their schooner did, and he had just determined, by the aid of Terrence, to bag five dozen brace of ducks for the belle of Mariana, when his friend went boldly over to the enemy.
“I’ll give it to him, when I get a chance,” he thought.
There was only one more night in which they could shoot ducks, and Terrence was engaged for that occasion. Fernando sighed and ground his teeth in rage and disappointment, while Morgianna, with Sukey on one side and Ensign Post on the other, went to a large Broadwood piano, where she soon entertained all with her music.
As they went to their tavern that night, Fernando said:
“A nice way you have treated me, Terrence, you who profess to be my friend.”
“What the divil ails the boy?” asked Terrence.
“You have volunteered to aid the lieutenant go ducking—”
“Aisy me boy! While the lieutenant is after ducks, lose no time with the girl. Don’t ye see I’m getting him out of yer way?”
Fernando had not thought of it in that light. On the next evening, the last they were to spend at Mariana, the lieutenant was rowed ashore attired for sporting, with top-boots and a double-barrelled fowling piece. Terrence, who claimed to be an experienced hunter, advised him to “kape their intintions sacrit,” as too many might want to go, and that would spoil the sport. Ducks could best be hunted after night. He would show him how it was done.
It was almost dark, when they set off in a small rowboat for Duck Island, and twenty minutes later Fernando was on his way to his farewell visit to Morgianna.
The sun had set, but it was not yet dark when Fernando reached the broad piazza. He asked himself if she would be at home or away. He had said nothing of his coming. This visit was wholly on his own account. He had walked up and down the piazza two or three times, when through the open door he caught the flutter of a garment on the stairway. It was Morgianna’s—to whom else could it belong? No dress but hers had such a flow as that. He gathered up courage and followed it into the hallway.
His darkening the door, into which the sombre shadows of twilight were already creeping, caused her to look around. “Oh that face! If it hadn’t been for that,” thought Fernando, “I could never have faced the Briton. She is twenty times handsomer than ever. She might marry a Lord!”
He didn’t say this. He only thought it—perhaps looked it also. Morgianna was glad to see him and was so sorry her father was away from home. Fernando begged she would not worry herself on any account.
Morgianna hesitated to lead the way into the parlor, for there it was nearly dark. At the same time she hesitated to stand talking in the hall, which was tolerably light from the open door. They still stood in the hall in an embarrassing position, Fernando holding her hand in his (which he had no right to do, for Morgianna had only given it to him to shake), and yet both hesitated to go or stay anywhere.
“I have come,” said Fernando, “to say good-bye—to say good-bye, for I don’t know how many years; perhaps forever. I am going away.”
Now this was exactly what he should not have said. Here he was, talking like a gentleman at large, who was free to come and go and roam about the world at his pleasure, when he had expressed both in actions and words that Miss Lane held him in adamantine chains.
Morgianna released her hand and said:
She remarked in the same breath that it was a fine night and, in short, betrayed not the least emotion. With despair still settling over his heart, Fernando said:
“I couldn’t go without coming to see you. I hadn’t the heart to.”
Morgianna was more sorry than she could tell that he had taken the trouble. It was a long walk up the hill, and as he was to sail next day, he must have a deal to do; as if she did not know that he had not brought even a trunk with him. Then she wanted to know how Mr. Winners was and Mr. Malone. She thought the Irishman a capital good fellow, and was sure no one could help liking him.
“Is this all you have to say?” Fernando asked.
All! Good gracious, what did the man expect? She was obliged to take her apron in her hand and run her eyes along the hem from corner to corner, to keep herself from laughing in his face;—not because his gaze confused her—not at all.
This was Fernando’s first experience in love affairs, and he had no idea how different young ladies are at different times. He had expected a far different scene from the one which was being enacted. All day long he had buoyed himself up with an indistinct idea that she would certainly say, “Don’t go,” or “Don’t leave us,” or “Why do you go?” or “Why do you leave us?” or would give him some little encouragement of that sort. He had even entertained the possibility of her bursting into tears, of her throwing herself into his arms, or falling down in a fainting fit, without previous word or sign; but any approach to such a line of conduct as this was evidently so far from her thoughts, that he could only look at her in silent wonder. The hated English rival had won her heart, and she was even glad he was going; yet it was so hard to give her up.
Morgianna, in the meanwhile, turned to the corners of her apron and measured the sides, and smoothed out the wrinkles, and was as silent as he. At last, after a long pause, he said good-bye.
“Good-bye,” answered Morgianna with as pleasant a smile as if he were only going for a row on the water and would return after supper; “good-bye.”
“Come,” said Fernando, putting out his hands, “Morgianna, dear Morgianna, let us not part like this. I love you dearly, with all my heart and soul, with as much sincerity and truth as man ever loved woman. I am only a poor student; but in this new world every thing is possible. You have it in your power to make me a grand and noble man, or crush from this heart every ambitious hope. You are wealthy, beautiful, admired, loved by everybody and happy;—may you ever be so! Heaven forbid I should ever make you otherwise; but give me one word of comfort. Say something kind to me. I have no right to expect it of you, I know; but I ask it because I love you, and I shall treasure the slightest word from you all through my life. Morgianna, dearest, have you nothing to say to me?”
No, nothing. Morgianna was a coquette by nature, and a spoilt child. She had no notion of being carried off by storm in this way. Fernando had no business to be going away. Besides, if he really loved her, why did he not fall on his knees like lovers in romance or on the stage, and tug wildly at his cravat, or talk in a wild, poetic manner?
“I have said good-bye twice,” said Morgianna. “Take your arm away, or I will call some one.”
“I will not reproach you,” Fernando sadly answered. “It’s no doubt my fault,” he added with a sigh. “I have thought sometimes that you did not quite despise me; but I was a fool to do so. Every one must, who has seen the life I have led of late—you most of all, for it was he at whose life I aimed. God bless you!”
He was gone, actually gone. She waited a little while, thinking he would return, peeped out of the door, looked down the broad carriage drive as well as the increasing darkness would allow, saw a hastily retreating shadow melt into the general gloom, came in again, waited a little longer, then went up to her room, bolted herself in, threw herself on her bed and cried as if her heart would break.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Terrence Malone and the lieutenant, Fernando’s rival, were rowing toward Duck Island fire or six miles away. The island was reached. It was a dismal affair little more than an elevated marsh. When the tide was out on Duck Island, its extended dreariness was potent. Its spongy, low-lying surface, sluggish, inky pools and tortuous sloughs, twisting their slimy way, eel-like, toward the open bay were all hard facts. Occasionally, here and there, could be seen a few green tussocks, with their scant blades, their amphibious flavor and unpleasant dampness. And if you chose to indulge your fancy, although the flat monotony of Duck Island was not inspiring, the wavy line of scattered drift gave an unpleasant consciousness of the spent waters and made the certainty of the returning tide a gloomy reflection, which sunshine could not wholly dissipate. The greener salt meadows seemed oppressed with this idea and made no positive attempt at vegetation. In the low bushes, one might fancy there was one sacred spot not wholly spoiled by the injudicious use of too much sea water.
The vocal expressions of Duck Island were in keeping with its general appearance, melancholy and depressing. The sepulchral boom of the bittern, the shriek of the curlew, the scream of the passing brent, the wrangling of quarrelsome teal, the sharp, querulous protest of the startled crane, were all beyond powers of written expression. The aspect of these mournful fowls was not at all cheerful or inspiring, as the boat containing the Irishman and lieutenant approached the island. Through the gathering gloom of night could be seen a tall blue heron, standing midleg deep in water, obviously catching cold in his reckless disregard for wet feet and consequences. The mournful curlew, the dejected plover and the low-spirited snipe, who sought to join him in his suicidal contemplations, the raven, soaring through the air on restless wings, croaking his melancholy complaints were not calculated to add to the cheerfulness of the scene.
[ILLUSTRATION: He sat down on a broken mast.]
It was evident that even the inhabitants of Duck Island were not happy in its possession and looked forward with pleasure to the season of migration.
The boat touched the north shore, and Lieutenant Matson jumped out in mud up to his knees, frightening some wild fowls which flew screaming away. The Englishman gave vent to some strong language, and desired to know if there was not a better landing place. Terrence assured him there was not, and complained that ducks never sought a “dacint place” for their habitation. Nothing but the glorious reflection that he was making himself a martyr for Morgianna’s sake could have induced the officer to take the torches and wade to the low bushes, where he was instructed to make a light and wait until his companion rowed around the island and drove the ducks in great flocks to the light, which he assured the Briton would attract them, and they would fall at his feet as if begging to be bagged.
Slowly the officer waded through the dismal marsh to the higher land, where grew the low bushes, and by the use of his tinder box kindled a light and, wrapping his boat cloak about him, sat down on a broken mast, which some storm had driven to the highest part of the island.
The minutes passed on, and neither the Irishman nor the expected flock of birds came. Minutes grew into hours, and only the sobbing waves and melancholy cries of birds broke the silence. Surely something had happened to his companion. About midnight a dense fog settled over the island, and the alarm and discomfiture of the Englishman became supreme. At one moment he was cursing Terrence, and the next offering prayer for his soul. Never did man pass a more dreary night.
At last dawn came, and he could see, far across the water, his ship but a speck in the distance. It was to sail that forenoon, and he intended to call on Morgianna and propose; but here he was on this infernal island, hungry, damp and miserable. He knew the vessel would pass near enough for him to hail it and have a boat sent for him; but then he would miss his intended visit to Captain Lane’s, and his future happiness depended on that visit.
While he was indulging in these bitter reflections, a schooner suddenly flew past the island, and, to his amazement, he saw the Irish student, Terrence Malone, whom he had been alternately praying for and cursing all night, standing on the deck apparently in the best of health and spirits. The scoundrel even had the audacity to wave him an adieu as he passed.
THE SILENT GUNNER.
Of course, Terrence Malone had played a practical joke on the English lieutenant, and while the latter was passing the night on the gloomiest island of all the Maryland coast, the former was sweetly dreaming of dear old Ireland, in the most comfortable bed the tavern afforded. Next morning the captain of the Xenophon sent ashore for Lieutenant Matson to come aboard, as they were about to hoist anchor. Terrence, Fernando and Sukey were just going aboard the schooner as the messenger came. Fernando had passed the most miserable night of his existence, and now, pale and melancholy, went aboard the schooner utterly unconscious of the fact that some one was watching him through a glass from the big house on the hill.
Terrence was as jolly as usual and had almost forgotten the lieutenant. Just as the schooner was about to sail, ensign Post came aboard and asked for Mr. Malone. Terrence was sitting aft the main cabin smoking a cigar, when the ensign, approaching, asked:
“Where is Lieutenant Matson? I was told he went shooting with you last evening.”
“Sure he did. You will find him on Duck Island enjoying the sport I’ve no doubt. Faith, I had almost forgotten to tell ye to touch at the island and take him off, as ye sailed out of the harbor.”
The ensign looked puzzled at this and said:
“This is strange,—this is certainly very extraordinary! Would he stay on the island all night?”
Terrence assured him that the lieutenant was a great sport and that the best shooting was just before day. The Englishman returned to his boat and was rowed to the man-of-war to report, while the schooner weighed anchor and sailed out of the harbor. The Xenophon followed two hours later, having first sent a boat to Duck Island for the lieutenant, who swore to shoot the Irishman at sight. There was no time for him to call on Morgianna and explain why he had not brought her the ducks, for soon after his arrival the ship departed for Halifax, where the commander had to give an account of his conduct at Baltimore.
Meanwhile, the schooner on which the three students had taken passage stood out to sea and started down the coast.
A strong breeze blowing from off land swept her out of sight of the coast, when the wind suddenly shifted, until the skipper declared they had it right in their teeth, and, despite all the skill of master and crew, the vessel continued to drift farther out to sea, while Sukey once more bewailed his fate at risking his life on the water.
“Don’t count me in this game again,” he groaned. “If I live to get on shore, I’ll never risk myself on water broader than the Ohio.”
With such headwinds, the schooner could not possibly reach Baltimore that night. All night long she struggled first on one tack and then on the other, and at dawn only the blue mist, seen like a fog in the West, marked the line of the Maryland coast.
“Don’t be discouraged, lads,” said the skipper cheerfully. “Come down to breakfast, and afore night I’ll have ye snug in port.”
They went to breakfast, and when they returned found the master and three seamen in the forecastle holding a very earnest conversation. The fourth sailor was at the wheel. Fernando, glancing off to their larboard saw a large ship, flying English colors, bearing down upon them, and he had no doubt that this vessel was the subject of discussion.
She signalled to the schooner to heave to, and as they were within range of her powerful guns, the skipper was forced to obey. This vessel was the English frigate Macedonian cruising along the American coast, and at this time short of hands. In a few moments, the frigate came near and hove to, while a boat with a dozen marines and an officer came alongside the schooner.
“What is your business?” asked the skipper.
“We are looking for deserters and Englishmen.”
“Well, here are my crew,” said the skipper pointing to his sailors. “Every one I will swear is American born!”
“But who are these young men?”
“Three passengers I am taking to Baltimore.”
The three students began to entertain some grave apprehensions. Terrence for once was quiet. His dialect he knew would betray him, and when he was asked where he lived and where he was from, he tried hard to conceal his brogue; but it was in vain.
Sukey came forward and tried to explain matters, but only made them worse. The result was that all three were in a short hour transported to the Macedonian in irons. Protest was useless; the Macedonian was short of hands and they were forced to go.
They were not even permitted to write letters home. However, the skipper had their names, and the whole affair was printed in the Baltimore Sun, and copies were sent to the parents of the young men.
Captain Snipes of the English frigate was one of those barbarous, tyrannical sea captains, more brute than human, and, in an age when the strict discipline of the navy permitted tyranny to exist, he became a monster.
The three recruits were added to his muster-roll and gradually initiated into the mysteries of sailor’s life on a war vessel.
Poor Sukey for several days was fearfully seasick; but he recovered and was assigned to his mess. Fortunately they were all three assigned to the same mess. The common seamen of the Macedonian were divided into thirty-seven messes, put down on the purser’s book as Mess No. 1, Mess No. 2, Mess No. 3. The members of each mess clubbed their rations of provisions, and breakfasted, dined and supped together at allotted intervals between the guns on the main deck.
They found that living on board the Macedonian was like living in a market, where one dresses on the door-step and sleeps in the cellar. They could have no privacy, hardly a moment seclusion. In fact, it was almost a physical impossibility ever to be alone. The three impressed Americans dined at a vast table d’hôte, slept in commons and made their toilet when and where they could. Their clothes were stowed in a large canvas bag, painted black, which they could get out of the “rack” only once in twenty-four hours, and then during a time of utmost confusion, among three hundred and fifty other sailors, each diving into his bag, in the midst of the twilight of the berth-deck.
Terrence, in order to obviate in a measure this inconvenience, suggested that they divide their wardrobes between their hammocks and their bags, stowing their few frocks and trowsers in the former, so that they could change at night when the hammocks were piped down. They knew not whither they were bound, and they cared little about the object of the voyage.
“How are we to get out of this any way?” asked Sukey one day, when the three were together for a moment.
“Lave it all to me!” said Terrence.
“I am perfectly willing to leave it all to you, Terrence. Do just as you will, so you get me on shore.”
Before they had been a month on the ship, they chased a French merchantman for twenty-four hours, and at times were near enough to fire a few shots with their long bow-chaser; but a fresh breeze sprang up, quickly increased to a gale, and the Frenchman escaped.
This was the nearest approach to a naval engagement they experienced during their stay on the war frigate. They cruised along the coast of Ireland and Scotland, went to Spain, entered the waters of the Mediterranean for a few weeks, and then returned to the Atlantic, sailing for the West Indies.
Not only were the officers of the Macedonian brutal; but the crew was made up of a motley class of human beings of every class of viciousness and brutality.
“Now boys, if ye want to kape out of trouble,” said Terrence, “do’nt ye get into any fights with thim divils, or ye’ll be brought up to the quarter-deck and flogged.”
His advice was appreciated, and both Fernando and Sukey did their best to avoid trouble with any of their quarrelsome neighbors. They submitted to insults innumerable; but at last Sukey was one morning assailed by a brutal sailor whom he knocked down. Two other sailors were guilty of a similar offence, and all four were put under arrest. Fernando was shocked and alarmed for his friend, and hastened to ascertain the facts concerning the charge.
“I couldn’t help it,” declared Sukey, whom he found in irons. “Plague take him! he hit me twice before I knocked him down. I didn’t want to be in the game.”
The culprits could expect nothing but a flogging at the captain’s pleasure. Toward evening of the next day, they were startled by the dread summons of the boatswain and his mates at the principal hatchway,—a summons that sent a shudder through every manly heart in the frigate:
“All hands witness punishment, ahoy!”
The hoarseness of the cry, its unrelenting prolongation, it being caught up at different points and sent to the lowest depths of the ship, produced a most dismal effect upon every heart not calloused by long familiarity with it. However much Fernando desired to absent himself from the scene that ensued, behold it he must; or, at least, stand near it he must; for the regulations compelled the attendance of the entire ship’s company, from the captain himself to the smallest boy who struck the bell.
At the summons, the crew crowded round the mainmast. Many, eager to obtain a good place, got on the booms to overlook the scene. Some were laughing and chatting, others canvassing the case of the culprits. Some maintaining sad, anxious countenance, or carrying a suppressed indignation in their eyes. A few purposely kept behind, to avoid looking on. In short, among three or four hundred men, there was every possible shade of character. All the officers, midshipmen included, stood together in a group on the starboard side of the mainmast. The first lieutenant was a little in advance, and the surgeon, whose special duty it was to be present at such times, stood close at his side. Presently the captain came forward from his cabin and took his place in the centre of the group, with a small paper in his hand. That paper was the daily report of offenses, regularly laid upon his table every morning or evening.
“Master-at-arms, bring up the prisoners,” he said. A few moments elapsed, during which the captain, now clothed in his most dreadful attributes, fixed his eyes severely upon the crew, when suddenly a lane formed through the crowd of seamen, and the prisoners advanced—the master-at-arms, rattan in hand, on one side, and an armed marine on the other,—and took up their stations at the mast.
“You, John, you, Richard, (Richard was Sukey) you Mark, you Antone,” said the captain, “were yesterday found fighting on the gun-deck. Have you any thing to say?”
Mark and Antone, two steady, middle-aged men, who had been admired for their sobriety, replied that they did not strike the first blow; they had submitted to much before they yielded to their passions; but as they acknowledged that they had at last defended themselves their excuse was overruled. John—a brutal bully, who in fact was the real author of the disturbance was about entering into a long harangue, when the captain cut him short, and made him confess, irrespective of circumstances, that he had been in the fray. Poor Sukey, the youngest and handsomest of the four, was pale and tremulous. He had already won the good will and esteem of many in the ship. That morning Fernando and Terrence had gone to his bag, taken out his best clothes and, obtaining the permission of the marine sentry at the “brig,” had handed them to him, to be put on before he was summoned to the mast. This was done to propitiate Captain Snipes, who liked to see a tidy sailor; but it was all in vain. To all the young American’s supplications, Captain Snipes turned a deaf ear. Sukey declared he had been struck twice before he had returned a blow.
“No matter,” cried the captain, angrily, “you struck at last, instead of reporting the case to an officer. I allow no man to fight on this ship but myself. I do the fighting. Now, men,” he added fixing his dark stern eye on them, “you all admit the charge; you know the penalty. Strip! Quartermaster, are the gratings rigged?”
The gratings were square frames of barred woodwork, sometimes placed over the hatches. One of these squares was now laid on the deck, close to the ship’s bulwarks, and while the remaining preparations were being made, the master-at-arms assisted the prisoners to remove their jackets and shirts. This done, their shirts were loosely thrown over their shoulders as a partial protection from the keen breeze, until their turn should come.
At a sign from the captain, John, with a shameless leer, stepped forward and stood passively on the grating, while the bareheaded old quarter-master, with his gray hair streaming in the wind, bound his feet to the cross-bars and, stretching out his arms over his head, secured them to the hammock netting above. He then retreated a little space, standing silent. Meanwhile, the boatswain stood solemnly on the other side with a green bag in his hand. From this he took four instruments of punishment and gave one to each of his mates; for a fresh “cat,” applied by a fresh hand, was the ceremonious privilege accorded to every man-of-war culprit. Through all that terrible scene, Fernando Stevens stood transfixed with horror, indignation and a thousand bitter, indescribable feelings. At another sign from the captain, the master-at-arms, stepping up, removed the shirt from the prisoner. At this juncture, a wave broke against the ship’s side and dashed the spray over the man’s exposed back; but, though the air was piercing cold, and the water drenched him, John stood still without a shudder.
Captain Snipes lifted his finger, and the first boatswain’s-mate advanced, combing out the nine tails of his “cat” with his fingers, and then, sweeping them round his neck, brought them with the whole force of his body upon the mark. Again, and again, and again; at every blow, higher and higher and higher rose the long purple bars on the prisoner’s back; but he only bowed his head and stood still. A whispered murmur of applause at their shipmate’s nerve went round among the sailors. One dozen blows were administered on his bare back, and then he was taken down and went among his messmates, swearing:
“It’s nothing, after you get used to it.”
Antone, who was a Portuguese, was next, and he howled and swore at every blow, though he had never been known to blaspheme before. Mark, the third, was in the first stage of consumption and coughed and cringed during the flogging. At about the sixth blow he bowed his head and cried: “Oh! Jesus Christ!” but whether it was in blasphemy or supplication no one could determine. He was taken with a fever a few days later and died before the cruise was over, as much perhaps of mortification as from the inroads of the disease.
The, fourth was poor Sukey. When told to advance, he made one more appeal to the captain, avowing that he was an American. The captain, with an oath, said that was the more reason for flogging him. He appealed until the marine guard was ordered to prod him with his bayonet. They had to actually drag Sukey to the gratings. Sukey’s cheek, which was usually pale, was now whiter than a ghost. As he was being secured to the gratings, and the shudderings and creepings of his dazzling white back were revealed, he turned his tear-stained face to the captain and implored him to spare him the disgrace, which he felt far more keenly than the pain.
“I would not forgive God Almighty!” cried the brutal captain. The fourth boatswain’s mate, with a fresh cat-o-nine-tails swung it about his head and brought the terrible scourge hissing and crackling on the young and tender back. Fernando turned his face away and wept.
“My God! oh! my God!” shouted Sukey, and he writhed and leaped, until he displaced the gratings, scattering the nine-tails of the scourge all over his person. At the next blow, he howled, leaped and raged in unendurable agony.
“What the d—–l are you stopping for?” cried the captain as the boatswain’s-mate halted. “Lay on!” and the whole dozen were applied, though poor Sukey fainted at the tenth stroke.
Reader, this was on an English war vessel,—the vessel of a nation professing a high state of civilization. We blush to say it, it was no better on an American man-of-war, if nautical writers of high authority are to be believed, and, even to-day, the brute often holds a commission in the American army and navy. Although flogging is of the past, punishment equally severe is inflicted. The necessities of discipline
For several days, Sukey was too ill to leave his hammock. “I don’t want to get well,” the poor boy said. “I want to die. I never want to see home or mother again after that.”
“Faith, me lad, live but to kill the d—–d captain,” suggested Terrence.
“I would live a thousand years to do that.”
There was a negro named Job on the vessel, who was a cook. He early formed a liking for the three. He stole the choicest dainties from the officers’ table for the sick youth.
“I ain’t no Britisher,” he declared. “Dar ain’t no Angler Saxon blood in dese veins, honey, an’ I thank de good Lawd for dat. I know what it am to be flogged. Golly, dey flog dis chile twice already. Nex’ time, I spect dat sumfin’ am a-gwine to happen.”
“When and where were you impressed?” Fernando asked.
“I war wid Cap’n Parson on de Dover, den de Sea Wing came, an’ de leftenant swear dis chile am a Britisher, and he tuk me away. Den me an’ Massa St. Mark, de gunner, were transferred to de Macedonian.”
Sukey was sullen and melancholy. A few days after he was on duty, he breathed a threat against Captain Snipes. A tall, fine-looking sailor, who was known as the chief gunner, said:
“Young man, keep your thoughts to yourself. For heaven’s sake, don’t let the officers hear them!”
They were now in the vicinity of the West Indies and touched at Barbadoes. While lying here, Fernando witnessed another act of British cruelty. Tom Boseley, an American who had been impressed into the service of Great Britain deserted, but was pursued and brought back. He was flogged and, on being released struck the captain, knocking him down. For this act, he was tried by a “drumhead court martial” and sentenced to die. Tom had a wife and children in New York, but was not permitted to write to them. Only one prayer was granted, and that was that he might be shot instead of hung, and thrown into the sea.
Fernando, almost at the risk of his own life, visited Boseley the night before his execution. He seemed indifferent to his fate, declaring it preferable to service on an English war ship. “I would rather die a free man, than live a slave,” he declared. Fernando asked if he would not rather live for his family.
“Oh! Stevens, say nothing about my family to-night!”
He then requested him to take possession of some letters he would try to write and, if possible, send them. Fernando said he would do so, and he then asked him to remain with him through the night. This Fernando declared was impossible. The young American was greatly weighed down by the terrible mental strain the whole affair had produced, and he had double duty to screen the unfortunate Sukey.
“Won’t you be with me when it is done?” Boseley asked. Money would not have tempted him to witness that sight; but he could not refuse the dying request. He visited him early next morning and found him dressed in the best clothes his poor wardrobe could afford, a white shirt and black cravat. He was a fine-looking man in features as well as stature. As Fernando gazed on him he thought, “Dressed for eternity!”
The doomed man gave him three letters, which Fernando secreted about his person and subsequently sent to their destination. Twelve marines were drawn as executioners. Four muskets were loaded with balls and eight with blank cartridges. Then the party went ashore. Boseley bore up well until the woods were reached, where he found an open grave. According to promise, Fernando went with him. Captain Snipes accompanied the sergeant of the marines to see that the prisoner was properly executed. He still stung under the blow he had received, and Boseley was slain more to gratify the vengeance of the captain than for any violated law. A number of Boseley’s shipmates were permitted to come and witness the terrible scene.
The captain said to Boseley:
“What is your distance?”
“Step off your ground,” added the captain.
“I cannot do it; you do it for me.”
“I will do it with you.”
The prisoner’s hands were tied behind his back, and the captain, taking his arm, walked him off twelve steps, as coolly as if they were only pacing the quarter-deck. The captain then took a blanket, spread it on the ground and told Boseley to kneel on it, and he did so, facing his executioners. The ship’s chaplain came and offered a prayer, after which the sergeant asked Boseley if he wished to have his eyes bandaged.
“No; I am not afraid to face my executioners,” he answered. It was an intensely solemn occasion, and among all those hardy, rough-mannered sailors, there was not one, unless it was Captain Snipes, who was not deeply affected. The captain’s face was flushed, and his breath was strong with brandy, and he seemed but little moved.
“Go ahead, and have this done with,” he said to the officer in charge of the affair.
“Are you quite ready now?” asked the sergeant.
“Yes,” was the answer in a faltering tone.
“Make ready!” and the twelve glittering muskets were leveled at this sacrifice to the wrath of Captain Snipes.
“Take aim!” and the gunners steadied themselves for the fatal word, to send a fellow being to eternity.
“Fire!” and instantly flashed a volley, reverberating a wild and unearthly death knell among the crags that looked down upon that awful scene. In the clear morning air, the smoke of the guns curled up lazily and hung like a funeral pall over the mangled, bleeding form. Four bullets had pierced his body. He fell on his face and lay motionless for a few seconds. Then he began to slowly raise his head. Fernando came near and stood in front of him. Ten thousand years could not efface that scene from his mind. He continued to raise his head and body without a struggle. He looked the captain in the eye, and his mouth was in motion as though he were trying to speak,—to utter some dying accusation. Never did human eye behold a scene so pitiful as this dying man gazing on his destroyer, gasping to implore or to denounce him. In an instant a dimness came over his eyes, and he fell dead.
“Oh, Heaven!” groaned Fernando, and he hurried away to the ship. For weeks, he saw that awful face every time he closed his eyes to sleep.
Two years on board the British frigate had made Fernando, Sukey and Terrence tolerably fair sailors. Their hearts were never in the work, and they often dreamed of escape from this life of slavery. Fernando, by judicious attention to business, had never yet won the positive displeasure of the officers. One day the boatswain’s mates repeated the commands at the hatchways:
“All hands tack ship, ahoy!”
It was just eight bells, noon, and, springing from his jacket, which he had spread between the guns for a bed on the main deck, Fernando ran up the ladders, and, as usual, seized hold of the main-brace which fifty hands were streaming along forward. When “maintopsail haul!” was given through the trumpet, he pulled at this brace with such heartiness and good will, that he flattered himself he would gain the approval of the grim captain himself; but something happened to be in the way aloft, when the yards swung round, and a little confusion ensued. With anger on his brow. Captain Snipes came forward to see what occasioned it. No one to let go the weather-lift of the main-yard. The rope was cast off, however, by a hand, and, the yards, unobstructed, came round. When the last rope was coiled away, the captain asked the first lieutenant who it might be that was stationed at the weather (then the starboard) main-lift. With a vexed expression of countenance, the first lieutenant sent a midshipman for the station bill, when, upon glancing it over, the name of Fernando Stevens was found set down at the post in question. At the time, Fernando was on the gundeck below, and did not know of these proceedings; but a moment after, he heard the boatswain’s-mates bawling his name at all the hatchways and along all three decks. It was the first time he had ever heard it sent through the furthest recesses of the ship, and, well knowing what this generally betokened to other seamen, his heart jumped to his throat, and he hurriedly asked Brown, the boatswain’s-mate at the fore-hatchway, what was wanted of him.
“Captain wants ye at the mast,” he answered. “Going to flog ye, I fancy.”
“My eyes! you’ve been chalking your face, hain’t ye?”
“What am I wanted for?” he repeated.
But at that instant, his name was thundered forth by the other boatswain’s-mates, and Brown hurried him away, hinting that he would soon find out what the captain wanted. Fernando swallowed down his heart as he touched the spardeck, for a single instant balanced himself on his best centre, and then, wholly ignorant of what was going to be alleged against him, advanced to the dread tribunal of the frigate. The sight of the quarter-master rigging his gratings, the boatswain with his detestable green bag of scourges, the master-at-arms standing ready to assist some one to take off his shirt was not calculated to allay his apprehensions. With another desperate effort to swallow his whole soul, he found himself face to face with Captain Snipes, whose flushed face showed his ill humor. At his side was the first lieutenant, who, as Fernando came aft, eyed him with some degree of conscientious vexation at being compelled to make him the scapegoat of his own negligence.
“Why were you not at your station, sir?” asked the captain.
“What station do you mean, sir?” Fernando asked, forgetting the accustomed formality of touching his hat, by way of salute, while speaking with so punctilious an officer as Captain Snipes. This little fact did not escape the captain’s attention.
“Your pretension to ignorance will not help you sir,” the Captain retorted.
The first lieutenant now produced the station bill, and read the name of Fernando Stevens in connection with the starboard main-lift.
“Captain Snipes,” said Fernando in a voice firm and terrible in its sincerity, “it is the first time I knew I was assigned to that post.”
“How is this, Mr. Bacon?” the captain asked turning to the first lieutenant with a fault-finding expression.
“It is impossible, sir, that this man should not know his station,” replied, the lieutenant.
“Captain Snipes, I will swear, I never knew it before this moment,” answered Fernando.
With an oath, the captain cried:
“Do you contradict my officer? I’ll flog you, by—!”
Fernando had been on board the frigate for more than two years and remained unscourged. Though a slave in fact, he lived in hope of soon being a free man. Now, after making himself a hermit in some things, after enduring countless torments and insults without resentment, in order to avoid the possibility of the scourge, here it was hanging over him for a thing utterly unforeseen,—a crime of which he was wholly innocent; but all that was naught. He saw that his case was hopeless; his solemn disclaimer was thrown in his teeth, and the boatswain’s-mate stood curling his fingers through the “cat.” There are times when wild thoughts enter a man’s
“To the gratings, sir!” cried Captain Snipes. “Do you hear?”
Fernando’s eye measured the distance between him and the sea, and he was gathering himself together for the fatal spring—
“Captain Snipes,” said a voice advancing from the crowd. Every eye turned to see who spoke. It was the remarkably handsome and gentlemanly gunner, Hugh St. Mark, who was scarcely ever known to break the silence, and all were amazed that he should do so now. “I know that man,” said St. Mark, touching his cap, and speaking in a mild, firm, but extremely deferential manner, “and I know that he would not be found absent from his station, if he knew where it was.”
This speech was almost unprecedented. Never before had a marine dared to speak to the captain of a frigate in behalf of a seaman at the mast; but there was something unostentatiously forcible and commanding in St. Mark’s manner. He had once saved the captain’s life, when a French boarder was about to slay him. Then the corporal, emboldened by St. Mark’s audacity, put in a good word. Terrence, who had been promoted to a small office, poured forth a torrent of eloquence, and, almost before he knew it, Fernando was free. As he was going to his quarters, his brain in a whirl, he heard Job the cook say:
“He ain’t no Britisher! Dar ain’t no more Angler Saxon blood in his veins dan in dis chile!”
An hour later, when he stood near a gun carriage, still dizzy from his narrow escape from the double crime of murder and suicide, St. Mark passed Fernando. He grasped the hand of the silent gunner, held it a moment in his own and whispered: “Thank you!”
SHIPWRECK—ESCAPE AND RETURN TO OHIO.
Ship’s rules, stringent as they were on the war frigate, and officers severe as were those of the Macedonian could not wholly curb the rollicking spirit of Terrence. His exuberance of spirits constantly got the better of any good intentions he might have formed. Any wholesome dread he may have entertained of that famous feline of nine tails, known to sailors of that day, was overcome by his love of pranks.
What guardian spirit protects the bold and mischievous has never yet been discovered; but it is a well authenticated fact that wild, harum scarum fellows like Terrence Malone seldom come to grief or disaster.
He was always the innocent lamb of the ship, whom no one would suspect of mischief. The chaplain of the ship was not more grave and sanctimonious than he. If the hammock netting were left so as to trip up the dignified captain and throw him on the deck in a very undignified manner, no one could possibly have suspected that the harmless Terrence had any thing to do with it.
The quarter-master was one day snoring in his hammock. Terrence, who was on duty scrubbing the gun deck, had a large tub filled with water, which was unconsciously left just under the head of the hammock of the quarter-master. No one could tell how it happened; but the supports were all cut save two or three, which the swaying of the hammock gradually loosened until, just as the officer went to “change sides,” down he came with a frightful splash head first into the tub.
Terrence, who was near, ran to his rescue and quickly pulled him out.
“It’s bastely carelessness to lave the water there,” cried Terrence. “Faith, I hope the captain will give the shpalpeen two dozen as did it.”
“Who cut my hammock down?” roared the quarter-master.
“Cut yer hammock, indade?”
The quarter-master was in a rage and swore like a trooper. Wiping the water from his face, he roared:
“Yes, cut down my hammock! Don’t you see the netting has been cut?”
“The truth ye tell, quarter-master; some haythin has surely been cutting yer netting. Now who could have done that? I hope the culprit may be found, that’s all.”
And the face of the quarter-master himself did not evince more savage fury than the Irishman. He was the first to report it to the lieutenant, and in his zeal actually burst in on the captain himself and told of the disaster, volunteering his services to hunt down the culprit.
“Find him!” thundered the captain, his face white with rage. “Find him, and, by the trident of Neptune, I swear I’ll see his backbone!”
No one in the whole ship was as zealous as the Irishman in searching for the culprit; but he took care never to find him.
Captains of men-of-war are fond of delicacies, and the captain had a fine fat pig, which he intended for a special feast to be given for his officers. Terrence, through his zeal, became such a favorite, that he was even permitted to superintend the cooking.
The quarter-master’s favorite dog, which was as fat as the pig, suddenly disappeared the day before the feast, and Terrence had a search instituted for him without avail, and gave it out as his opinion that the dog had fallen overboard. On the same day the officers feasted on roast pig, Terrence’s mess had roast pig. The officers declared that their roast pig was very tender, but that the flavor was strong and peculiar! The ship’s surgeon afterward said he never saw the bones of a pig so resemble the bones of a dog. There had been but one pig aboard, and had it been known that Terrence dined on roast pig also, there might have been some grave suspicions.
Shortly after this event, there were some changes in the British navy. Captain Snipes was supplanted in command of the Macedonian by Captain Carden. Fernando, Terrence and the negro were shortly after transferred to the war-sloop Sea Shell, Captain Bones, while poor Sukey was still left aboard the Macedonian. Shortly after these changes Captain Snipes and Mr. Hugh St. Mark, the silent gunner, were transferred to the man-of-war Xenophon. Thus we see, by those interminable and inexplicable changes constantly going on in the royal navy the friends were separated. There may be some reason for those constant changes in the navy; but they are not apparent to the sagest landsman living.
Captain Conkerall had made himself so ridiculous in Baltimore, that he had been forced to quit the service in order to escape he ridicule of his fellow officers. This left Lieutenant Matson in command of the Xenophon until Captain Snipes was assigned to that duty.
Fernando Stevens felt some regrets in leaving the Macedonian. One’s very sufferings may endear them to a place. But Fernando’s chief regret was in leaving the friend of his childhood. Sukey and he shed manly tears as each saw the face of his friend fade from view.
Terrence soon ingratiated himself into the favor of Captain Bones, who had a weakness for punch and whist. Terrence knew how to brew the punch to the taste of the captain, and could play whist so artistically, that the captain could, by the hardest sort of playing, just win.
Terrence boasted of excellent family connection, and gave as his reason for his not having a mid-shipman’s commission, that his father objected to the sea, and he had been impressed instead of entering the navy of his own accord. Bones was not as punctilious as most captains, especially when Terrence could brew such excellent punch, and Terrence soon became a favorite and came and went at pleasure in the captain’s cabin. When the captain imbibed quite freely, he often hinted at a promotion for Terrence.
Fernando paid little attention to the course of the vessel. He had been in nearly all the parts of the world, and seldom asked which continent they were on, or in what waters they sailed. He was sober, silent and melancholy.
One bright August day in 1811, they were off some coast, he knew not what. All day the weather had been glorious. Toward sunset, the clouds began to gather in heavy masses to the southeast, and a little later a heavy breeze sprang up from that direction. As darkness came on, the wind increased, blowing a strong gale, and it blew all night. As morning dawned a dense fog settled down over the vessel and completely obscured everything. Soundings were taken; but the captain, who had yielded to the seductive punch of Terrence Malone, could not determine where they were. When daylight came the sea had changed color, which proved that they were in shallow water. On heaving the lead it was ascertained that they were only in twelve fathoms water.
“Wear ship!” shouted Captain Bones in a tone of thunder. The vessel was then under such small sail that she had not headway enough to stay her. As she answered to her helm and payed off, bringing the wind aft, high land was seen astern. Suddenly the fog lifted. At the same instant, the wind changed to the southwest, blowing harder. A cloud of canvas flew into the air, and, looking up, Fernando saw it was the jib. The vessel lost what little headway she had and drifted heavily to leeward. As the fog cleared toward the land, they looked early in that direction and to their dismay and horror, they saw heavy breakers beating so close to them, that there was no room to wear the ship round. The captain at once gave orders to clear away the anchors. A seaman went forward with an axe to cut the lashings of the one on the port side. As soon as the cable had been cut, the starboard anchor was sent adrift and thirty fathoms of cable ran out. The order was given to “hold on,” and as it was obeyed the port cable broke. The sloop immediately swung around, bringing all her weight on the starboard cable, which, being unable to stand the strain, parted, and then they were left entirely to the mercy of the wind and sea.
The suspense was short. A tremendous sea came rolling toward the sloop, struck it with terrific force, lifted it high on its crest and carried it forward toward the breakers. In another instant the vessel was driven with a crash on the sandy bottom. At the same moment down came the foremast, taking with it the jib-boom and bowsprit, all disappearing into the sea. Wave after wave washed over them in quick succession. The mainmast was split, and the noise made by it, as it was beaten about by the gale was deafening. All the poor wretches on board the Sea Shell could do was to hold on for dear life.
The captain ordered their only life-boat lowered, and, turning to the crew, he shouted, for the roaring of the wind was terrible, that he with twelve men would set out for shore, and after landing eight with himself and officers, would send the boat back for others. The captain had no notion that so excellent a punch brewer as Terrence should be lost, and insisted that he go with the first boatload. The others had no alternative. They were compelled to submit. The captain, his lieutenants, Terrence and a dozen sailors sprang over the side, took their places and pushed off. As the little craft rose and fell in that frightful sea, it seemed doubtful if they would reach the shore.
Dumb with terror, Fernando had watched the whole proceeding. He could only hold on to a sail and, by the sheer strength of his hands and arms, save himself from being carried overboard, as sea after sea swept over them. He strained his eyes until it seemed as though they would burst, to follow the movements of that boat on which their lives depended. It seemed but a mere speck on the waves. Suddenly it rose to a surprising height, and then disappeared altogether. The next moment he saw the men struggling in the water. The boat was broken into pieces and the fragments were brought out to them. Every man for himself was now the cry throughout the ship. How far they were from the shore no one could tell. They had to take their chances. Although a strong swimmer, Fernando knew that in such a tremendous sea he would be powerless. There was, however, but the one thing to do.
Raising his hands before him and pressing them firmly together, Fernando drew a long breath, then sprang from the sloop’s rail into the water beneath. When he rose to the surface he tried to swim. It was impossible, as he had foreseen. He was like a child in the grasp of a monster. The waves tossed him up like a plaything and carried him on —he could not tell how far or where. Suddenly a great black object loomed up before him. It was a part of the wreckage. He tried to ward it off; but he might as well have tried to ward off the sloop itself, for the sea lifted him up and dashed him onward, and the great mass struck him a heavy blow over the eye—a flash of lightning gleamed, then all was darkness and a blank.
How long after he could not tell, a strange sensation came creeping slowly over him. A low murmur of voices reached his ears. He was bewildered and benumbed; but soon the truth began to dawn, and he knew that, wherever he might be, he was not dead. Powerless to move, he opened his eyes and fastened them on the objects about him. He now discovered that he was lying on a bed of straw in a large barn. How he could have gotten there was yet a mystery. To his great delight, he recognized the face of Terrence Malone bending over him.
“Well, me boy, ye’re not dead yet, are ye?” “Where are we, Terrence?” he faintly inquired.
“Whist, me lad, an’ I’ll tell ye!” said Terrence, in an undertone. Terrence first looked round to assure himself that there was no one within hearing and then said, “Safe on mother earth, me lad, and, what’s best of all, American soil!” American soil!—the very announcement sent a thrill of hope and joy through his heart. Terrence then informed him that they had been wrecked on the coast of Maine, that most of the crew were saved, and the captain intended to march, as soon as the men were able, over the line into Canada. Terrence assured Fernando that, so far as he was concerned, he had no intention of leaving America; but the matter had to be handled carefully. They were on a thinly populated coast and Captain Bones had enough English marines to enforce his authority.
“Then how can we escape?” asked Fernando.
“Lave it all to me!” said the Irishman. As Fernando was incapable of doing anything himself, he very naturally left it all to his Irish friend. “Now I want ye to be too sick to travel for a week. By that time, I’ll have the captain all right and snug enough.”
Though badly bruised and stunned, Fernando had no bones broken. At any time within three days after the shipwreck he could have left the barn, but, following the advice of Terrence, he assumed a stupid state and refused to talk with any of the officers who called to see him. Terrence became nurse to the invalid as well as the brewer of punch for the captain. Only one other person was taken into the secret plans of the Irishman, that was the negro Job.
Job was delighted.
“Gwine ter run away!” he chuckled, “yah, yah, yah, dat am glorious! I tell yer, dis chile ain’t no Britisher. I tole yer dar ain’t no Angler Saxun blood in dese veins.”
Job was installed assistant nurse over Fernando, and when the captain asked the negro about him, the black face became sober, and Job shook his woolly head, saying:
“Dun no, massa, spect he am gwine ter die. He am awful bad.”
Captain Bones gave utterance to a burst of profanity and seriously hoped the wounded sailor would either get well or die, and be very quick about it. Fernando heard him as he lay in the barn loft and could not refrain from chuckling.
“We’ve got to move soon,” growled the captain. “No ship will ever put into this port for us. We must march to Halifax.”
“Golly! guess dis chile see himself marchin’ ter Halifax,” the negro murmured, when the captain had left the barn.
Captain Bones was quartered at the best fisherman’s cabin in the neighborhood. It was not much of a shelter, but it was the best he could find. Captain Bones was provoked at the delay in Fernando’s recovery. He knew he was an impressed American, and if he left him, he would be lost to the service, and yet he dared not much longer delay going to Halifax.
He was bargaining with a coasting schooner to take himself and crew to Halifax, when one evening Terrence came to him with a very serious face, as if the fortunes of Great Britain were in peril.
“Captain, it’s bad news I have for ye,” said Terrence. “The brandy is all gone, and divil a bit o’ whiskey can be had for love or money.” This was alarming to Captain Bones; but Terrence suggested that three miles away lived a farmer Condit, whose cellar abounded with kegs of apple jack and cider. Condit was a rabid republican and would not give a Briton a drop if he were dying for it; but, if the captain would be taken into his confidence, he had a little scheme to propose which had a trifle of risk in it, just enough to give spice to it.
His plan was nothing more than to dress in citizen’s clothes, enter the cellar after night and carry away some, if not all, of the kegs of apple jack.
Captain Bones, who enjoyed a frolic, thought the plan an excellent one.
But he begged to allow the first lieutenant to become a party to the frolic. This was just as Terrence wished, for he had intended to suggest the first lieutenant himself. It was agreed that on Saturday night next, the three, dressed in citizen’s clothes, were to go to the home of the farmer, enter his cellar and secure enough apple jack and hard cider to alleviate the thirst of Captain Bones, during his stay in the neighborhood.
Farmer Condit, the day before the intended burglary, received a very mysterious letter in a very mysterious manner. It read as follows:
“Farmer Condit: Saturday night your house is to be robbed. I am one of a band of robbers who are to rob you. I was forced to join them or be killed, and will have to go with them that night. Have a few constables ready to seize them. They will not fight; but let the man in tall, peaked, brown hat, white trousers and gray coat escape, for that is me. If you could let me escape and seize the others, you would set at liberty a poor fellow creature, who warns you at the risk of his life.
On the night in question, Terrence wore a tall, peaked brown hat, with black band. He also wore white trousers and a gray coat. The three set off in a cart which Terrence hired to bring back the treasure. It was dark before they commenced their journey, for the officers did not want the men to know of the affair.
They reached the farm house of Mr. Condit and prepared to enter it and begin operations. The cart and mule were left under some trees. It was now ten o’clock, and the house was quite dark. Slowly they crept up to it, Terrence asking himself if the farmer had heeded his warning. Like many farm-house cellars, there was a trap door opening on the outside. To this cellar door they made their way. Terrence, who was accustomed to such affairs, had provided himself with a lantern, which he was to light when they entered the cellar.
They descended the steps and had scarcely reached the floor, when footsteps were heard descending a flight of steps from the inside of the house.
“Hide behind the barrels and boxes, ivery mother’s son of ye!” whispered the Irishman. The officers were concealing themselves, when suddenly the door opened and a portly elderly gentleman in his shirt sleeves, knee breeches and slippers, carrying a lighted candle in one hand and a pistol in the other descended. He saw Captain Bones and his lieutenant trying to hide behind a barrel. The captain, in his excitement, had drawn a pistol and was cocking it. Terrence at this moment escaped.
With a yell, the old gentleman dropped the candle, which lay on the floor, the thin blaze ascending upward and dimly lighting the scene. At his yell, there suddenly rushed into the cellar half a dozen stout men, armed with guns and pistols, and the supposed burglars were arrested. Next morning, Captain Bones and his chief officer were snugly reposing in the county jail, while Terrence, Fernando and Job set out across the country for Augusta. From this point they took passage in a swift coaster for New York. At New York they separated, Terrence going to Philadelphia, Job to Baltimore, and Fernando to his home in Ohio.
His journey was long and tedious. At the close of a hot day in autumn, 1811, the old stage coach came in sight of the dear old home. The past four years seemed like a terrible dream. The old familiar spot, where every tree and flower was endeared by sacred remembrances, was never half so precious as now. His gray-haired father and sorrowful mother, who had long given him up for dead, wept over him and thanked God that he had returned to again bless their home. Friends, relatives and neighbors, hearing of the sudden return of Fernando, all gathered on that evening, and the youth told the sad story of his impressment and slavery. He told all save his love affair. That secret was too sacred. When he had finished, good old Mrs. Winners was weeping bitterly, and there was scarce a dry eye in the house; for all remembered that poor Sukey was still a slave to the rapacity and cruelty of an ambitious monarch.
The story of the impressment, service and sufferings of Fernando Stevens and his friends are no exaggerations. Well authenticated history shows that there were thousands of cases similar, and even worse than theirs. The conduct of England was without precedent and unbearable. Their great need of men might have been some excuse for impressment of Americans; but there was a spice of hatred in their cruel treatment of the unfortunate sailors.
We read much about the rulers moulding the destiny of the people; but in our republic the people mould the destiny of the rulers. Long before the president had dared express a thought of war, there were staid old western farmers, level-headed old fellows, who declared that war was inevitable. America is not a country to be ruled by one man. The people rule it, and every man thinks for himself, so that
On the first of April, 1812, he sent a confidential message to congress, proposing, as a measure preliminary to a declaration of war, the passage of a law laying an embargo upon all commerce with the United States for the space of sixty days. This was done on the fourth of April, and on the eighth, Louisiana was admitted into the Union as a State.
At the end of the sixty days embargo, Madison sent a message to congress in which he reviewed the difficulties with Great Britain, portrayed the aggressions of that power, and intimated the necessity of war for the maintenance of the honor and dignity of the republic. The message was referred to the committee on foreign relations, when a majority of them—John C. Calhoun of South Carolinia, Felix Grundy of Tennessee, John Smillie of Pennsylvania, John A. Harper of New Hampshire, Joseph Desha of Kentucky and Seaver of Massachusetts reported, June 3, a manifesto as the basis of a declaration of war. On the next day, a bill to that effect, drawn by Attorney-General Pinckney in the following form was adopted and presented by Mr. Calhoun:
“That war be, and the same is hereby, declared to exist between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the dependencies thereof, and the United States of America and their Territories, and that the president of the United States is hereby authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the United States to carry the same into effect, and to issue to private armed vessels of the United States commissions, or letters of marque and general reprisal, in such form as he shall think proper, and under the seal of the United States, against the vessels, goods and effects of the government of the said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the subjects thereof.”
Pending these proceedings, congress sat with closed doors. The bill passed the house of representatives by a vote of 75 to 49, and the senate by 19 to 13. The president’s immediate signature made it a law; and two days later, June 19, 1812, Mr. Madison issued a proclamation, in which he formally declared war against the offending government and people.
Thus began the second war with Great Britain, generally known in the annals of history as the War of 1812, though it was in reality the second war for independence. It was the war which established independence beyond the cavil of a doubt and sustained the honor of the nation.
Immediate measures were taken by congress to sustain the declaration of war. The president was authorized to enlist 25,000 men for the regular army, accept 50,000 volunteers and call out 100,000 militia for the defence of the seacoast. About $3,000,000 were appropriated for the navy.
There were very few men in the United States trained in the art of war at this time. West Point was in its infancy, having been authorized only ten years before, and as yet had not been able to accomplish anything. The older officers of the Revolution were already in their graves, and the younger ones were far advanced in life; yet to the latter alone, the government felt compelled to look for its military leaders. Henry Dearborn, a meritorious New Hampshire colonel in the continental army, was commissioned major-general and commander-in-chief. His principal brigadiers were James Wilkinson, who was on the staff of General Gates in the capture of Burgoyne, Wade Hampton, who had done good partisan service with Marion, Sumter, and others in South Carolinia, William Hull, who had served as colonel in the old war for independence, and Joseph Bloomfield, who had been a captain in the New Jersey line.
At that time, Hull was a governor of the territory of Michigan. Satisfied that the American navy could not cope with that of Great Britain, the Americans based their hopes for success largely upon the supposed dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of Canada and other British colonial possessions on their border. It was believed that the Canadians would flock to the American standard as soon as it was raised on their soil. The American people have always clung to the belief that Canadians were not loyal to Great Britain. It was the mistake of 1775, it was the mistake of 1812, and strange to say Americans still hug the delusion to their breasts that Canada favors annexation. They have reason for their belief only in the doctrine that such an annexation would be in the interests of Canada, disregarding the stubborn fact that in political matters, prejudices, rather than interests, control.
Canada was then divided into the Upper and Lower Provinces, the former extending westward from Montreal, along the shores of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, to Lake Huron and the Detroit River. It included about one hundred thousand inhabitants, who were principally the families of American loyalists, who had been compelled to abandon their homes in the States at the close of the war of the Revolution, and had since lived under the fostering care of the British government. They were loyal to Great Britain from lingering resentment to the Americans, and because of the kindness of the English government.
In 1812, George, Prince of Wales, was really the monarch of Great Britain, for the court physicians had pronounced his father, George III., hopelessly insane. Great Britain was waging a tremendous war against Napoleon, having just formed an alliance with Russia against the ambitious Corsican. England’s naval armament on the American stations, Halifax, Newfoundland, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, then consisted of five ships-of-the-line, nineteen frigates, forty-one brigs and sixteen schooners and some armed vessels on Lakes Ontario and Erie, with several others building. The British land forces in the two Canadian provinces were about seven thousand five hundred, while the number of Canadian militia did not exceed forty thousand with a frontier of seven hundred miles to guard.
The governor of Michigan went to Washington City in the winter of 1812 and heard the question of the invasion of western Canada discussed. He informed the president that the success of such an enterprise depended on having armed vessels on Lake Erie, with a competent force in the northwest to protect the American frontier against the Indians. In the spring, Governor Meigs of Ohio summoned the militia of that State to rendezvous at Dayton, to meet the impending danger. Hull accepted the commission of brigadier, and late in May arrived at Dayton, Ohio, and took command of the troops at that place. Hull had under him such noted officers as Colonels Duncan McArthur, James Findlay and Lewis Cass. With these forces, he marched to Detroit, through an almost trackless wilderness. While on the march with about two thousand men, Hull was informed of the declaration of war, which news at the same time reached the British posts in Canada, and his little army was in imminent peril. The government gave Hull discretionary power for invading Canada.
General Sir Isaac Brock, Lieutenant Governor of upper Canada, was in command of the British forces. On July 12, 1812, Hull crossed the Detroit River with his whole force and encamped at some unfinished works at Sandwich, preparatory to an attack on Fort Malden near the present Amherstburg. From this point, Hull issued a proclamation, promising protection to the inhabitants who would remain at home and death to all who should side with the Indians, then gathering under Tecumseh at Malden. General Proctor was sent to take command at Fort Malden, while Brock began to assemble a force about him at Fort George. Here he was joined by John Brant, son of the great Mohawk chief with one hundred warriors from Grand River.
By his extreme caution and delay, Hull lost his opportunity to capture Fort Malden, which was soon strongly reinforced by British and Indians. Meanwhile, information reached Hull of the fall of the fort on Mackinaw. He also learned that Fort Dearborn at Chicago was invested, while a detachment under Major Van Horne, sent down to the West side of the Detroit River to escort a supply train from Ohio, was attacked by the British
On the 13th of August, Gen. Brock, a brave, energetic officer reached Malden with reinforcements. Aware of the character of Hull, he prepared for the conquest of Detroit. On the 14th, he planted batteries at Sandwich, opposite the fortress of Detroit and demanded its surrender, stating that otherwise he should be unable to restrain the fury of the savages. Instigated by his officers, Hull answered this by a spirited refusal and a declaration that the fort and town would be defended to the last extremity. The British commenced a cannonade, and Hull was greatly distressed at the number of women and children in the fort, exposed to the fire of the enemy. The more charitably inclined historian interprets his acts as the result of tender regard for the helpless and innocent, rather than cowardice, especially as his daughter and her little children came near being slain by a ricocheting cannon-ball, which almost annihilated a group of officers in front of the door of the house in which the mother and her children were. The firing continued until next day. The alarm and consternation of General Hull had now become extreme. On the 12th, the field officers, suspecting that the general intended to surrender the fort, had determined on his arrest. This was probably prevented, in consequence of Col. McArthur and Cass, two very active and spirited officers, being detached, on the 13th, with four hundred men, on a third expedition to the river Raisin.
Early on the morning of the 16th, the British landed at Springwell, three miles below the town, without opposition, and marched up in solid column toward the fort along the river bank. The troops were strongly posted, and cannon loaded with grape stood on a commanding eminence ready to sweep the advancing columns. The troops, anticipating a brilliant victory, waited in eager expectation the advance of the British. What was their disappointment and mortification at the very moment, when it was thought the British were advancing to certain destruction, orders were given for them to retire within the fort, and for the artillery not to fire. Then, the men were ordered to stack their arms, and, to the astonishment of all, a white flag was suspended from the walls, and Hull, panic stricken, surrendered the fortress without even stipulating the terms. The surrender included, beside the troops at Detroit, the detachments under Cass and McArthur, and the party under Captain Brush at the river Raisin. No provision was made for the unfortunate Canadians who had joined General Hull, and several of them were hung as traitors.
The disgraceful surrender of Detroit, excited universal indignation throughout the country. When McArthur’s sword was demanded, he indignantly broke it, tore the epaulettes from his shoulders and threw himself upon the ground. When General Hull was exchanged, he was tried by a court-martial, found guilty of cowardice and sentenced to be shot; but, in consequence of his revolutionary services and his advanced age, the president pardoned him. His fair fame, however, has ever since been blasted with the breath of cowardice.
While General Hull was in Canada, he dispatched Winnemeg, a friendly Indian, to Captain Heald, the commander of Fort Dearborn, at the small trading post of Chicago, with the information of the loss of Mackinaw, and directed him to distribute his stores among the Indians, and return to Fort Wayne. Captain Heald had ample means of defence; but the order received on the 9th of August left nothing to his discretion. The Pottawatomies, however, having obtained intelligence of the war from a runner sent by Tecumseh, collected, to the number of several hundred, around the fort. Notwithstanding the evident hostile demonstration of the Indians, Captain Heald proceeded to obey his superior’s orders. He distributed his stores among the Indians, excepting what was most wanted; while liquors and ammunition which they could not take, were thrown into the lake. This act enraged the Pottawatomies. On the 14th, Captain Wells arrived with fifteen friendly Miamies from Fort Wayne. This intrepid warrior, who had been bred among the Indians, hearing that his friends at Chicago were in danger, had hastened thither to avert the fate, which he knew must ensue to the little garrison, if they evacuated the fort; but he was too late; the ammunition and provisions both being gone, there was no alternative. The next day (August 15th), all being ready, the garrison left the fort with martial music and in military array.
Captain Wells, at the head of the Miamies, led the van, his face blackened after the manner of the Indians.
The garrison, with loaded arms, followed, and the wagons with the baggage, the women and children, the sick and the lame closed the rear. The Pottawatomies, about five hundred in number, who had promised to escort them in safety to Fort Wayne, leaving a little space, afterward followed. The party in advance took the beach road. They had no sooner arrived at the sand-hills, which separated the prairie from the beach, about a half mile from the fort, when the Pottawatomies, instead of continuing in the rear of the Americans, left the beach and took to the prairie. The sand-hills intervened and presented a barrier between the Pottawatomies and the American and Miami line of march. This divergence had scarcely been effected, when Captain Wells, who, with the Miamies, was considerably in advance, rode back and exclaimed:
“They are about to attack us; form instantly and charge upon them.”
The words had scarcely been uttered, before a volley of musketry from behind the sand-hills was poured in upon them. The troops were brought immediately into line and charged up the bank. One man, a veteran of seventy, fell as they ascended. The battle at once became general. The Miamies fled in the outset.
The American troops behaved gallantly. Though few in number, they sold their lives as dearly as possible. While the battle was raging, the surgeon, Doctor Voorhes, who was badly wounded, and whose horse had been shot under him, approaching Mrs. Helm, the wife of Lieutenant Helm, with his face the picture of dread and despair, asked:
“Do you think they will take our lives? I am badly wounded, but I think not mortally. Perhaps we can purchase safety by offering a large reward. Do you think there is any chance?”
“Doctor Voorhes,” the brave little woman answered, “let us not waste the few moments which yet remain, in idle or ill-founded hopes. Our fate is inevitable. We must soon appear at the bar of God. Let us make such preparations as are in our power.”
“Oh, I cannot die! I am unfit to die! If I had a short time to prepare!—oh, death, how awful!”
At this moment, Ensign Ronan was fighting at a little distance with a tall and portly Indian. The former, mortally wounded, was nearly down and struggling desperately on one knee. Mrs. Helm, pointing her finger and directing the attention of the doctor to him, cried:
“Look at that young man; he dies like a soldier!”
“Yes,” said the doctor, “but he has no terrors of the future; he is an unbeliever.”
A young savage sprang at Mrs. Helm, whose horse had been shot, and raised his tomahawk to strike her. She instantly sprang aside, and the blow intended for her head, fell upon her shoulders. She thereupon seized him around his neck, and, while exerting all her efforts to get possession of his scalping knife, was seized by another Indian and dragged forcibly from his grasp. The latter bore her, struggling and resisting, toward the lake. Notwithstanding, however, the rapidity with which she was hurried along, she recognized, as she passed, the form of the unfortunate doctor stretched lifeless on the prairie. She was plunged into the water and held there, despite her resistance, with a strong hand. It soon became evident, however, that it was not the intention of her captor to drown her, as he took care to keep her head above the water. Thus reassured, she gave him a careful look and recognized him, despite his disguise, as “Black Partridge, the white man’s friend.” It was this friendly savage who had warned Captain Heald to beware of the march. Through the interpreter he said:
“Linden birds have been singing in my ears to-day; be careful on the march you are going to take.”
The troops, having fought with desperation until two-thirds of their number were slain, the remainder, twenty-seven in all, borne down by an overwhelming force, and exhausted by efforts hitherto unequaled, at length surrendered. They stipulated, however, for their own safety and for the safety of their remaining women and children. The wounded prisoners, however, in the hurry of the moment were forgotten, and were, therefore, regarded by the Indians as having been excluded.
[ILLUSTRATION: IT SOON BECAME EVIDENT THAT HE DID NOT INTEND TO DROWN HER.]
One of the soldiers’ wives, having been told that prisoners taken by the Indians were put to terrible tortures, resolved from the first not to surrender. When a party of savages approached her, she fought with desperation, although assured of kind treatment, and, exciting the anger of the Indians, was killed and left on the field. After the surrender, twelve children in one of the baggage wagons were slain by a single savage.
Mrs. Rebecca Heald, the young captain’s wife, like Mrs. Helm was mounted on a horse. She carried a rifle with which she shot a savage dead. During the massacre, an Indian, with the fury of a demon in his countenance, advanced to her with his tomahawk raised. She had been accustomed to danger and, knowing the temper of the Indians, with great presence of mind, looked him in the face and, smiling, said:
“Truly, you will not kill a squaw?”
His arm fell powerless at his side. The conciliating smile of an innocent female, appealing to the magnanimity of a warrior, reached the heart of the savage and subdued the barbarity of his soul.
Captain Heald and his wife, by the aid and influence of To-pa-na-hee and Kee-po-tah, were put into a bark canoe and paddled by the chief of the Pottawatomies and his wife to Mackinaw, three hundred miles distant, along the eastern coast of Lake Michigan, and delivered to the British commander. They were kindly received and afterward sent as prisoners to Detroit, where they were finally exchanged.
Lieutenant Helm was wounded in the action and taken prisoner. He was afterward taken by some friendly Indians to Au Sable, and from thence to St. Louis, and was liberated from captivity through the intervention of Mr. Thomas Forsyth, an Indian trader. Mrs. Helm was slightly wounded in the ankle, and had her horse shot from under her, when assailed by the savage from whom Black Partridge rescued her. After passing through many trying scenes and ordeals, she was finally taken to Detroit and subsequently joined her husband. The soldiers, with their wives and children, were dispersed among the Pottawatomies on the Illinois, the Wabash and the Rock Rivers, and some were taken to Milwaukee. In the following spring, they were principally collected at Detroit and ransomed. A part of them, however, remained in captivity another year, and during that period experienced more kindness than they or their friends had expected.
Captain Wells, the intrepid leader of the Miamies, remained with the Americans after his warriors fled and fell in the massacre. On the spot where this massacre occurred a little over two generations ago, now stands a city, whose growth is one of the marvels in the history of the progress of our great nation within the present century. It is the centre of a railway system connecting the East with the West by fully twelve thousand miles of railroad, all tributary to Chicago; and that city, which was only the germ of a small village fifty years ago, now has more than a million inhabitants, and is the great grain market of the western continent.
On the bloody sands where Captain Heald’s small command fought so nobly is now (1893) being held a great international exposition, the “World’s Columbian Exposition” in celebration of the discovery of the New World by Columbus.
Thus far, the war with England had not been encouraging to Americans. Within two months from the time of this declaration, the whole northwest, excepting Forts Harrison and Wayne in the Indian Territory, were in possession of the enemy. Alarm and astonishment prevailed throughout the West. The great mass of Indians, ever ready to join the successful party, were flocking to the British; but by the spirited exertion of the governors of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, three thousand volunteers were quickly raised and placed under command of General W.H. Harrison, for the purpose of subduing the Indians and regaining what was lost at Detroit.
THE PEACE PARTY.
Terrence Malone, with all his frivolity and tendency toward ludicrousness, had a remarkable amount of shrewdness in his composition. He was a bold, harum scarum fellow, as liable to pull the beard of a king, as to kick a pauper. Though he had fared well for an impressed seaman, Terrence had no love for Great Britain. Like others of his race, he made a noble American. One can scarcely find, a more patriotic American than the Irish American, who, driven by tyranny from the land of his birth, transfers his love to the land of his adoption. America has never had a war in which the brave sons of the Emerald Isle have not been found under the star-spangled banner, musket in hand, risking their lives for their adopted country.
Young Malone had a double cause to hate England. His father had been driven from Ireland, when Terrence was but a child, by the tyranny of the British, and he had been made to give almost four of the best years of his life to the service of King George.
In January, 1812, Terrence announced to his father his intention of going to Washington City.
“What the divil be ye goin’ to Washington City for, me boy?”
“To see the prisident,” was the answer.
“You’d better be goin’ to school, I’m thinkin’.”
“School, father!” said Terrence, with an impatient shrug of his shoulders. “Faith, don’t talk to me of schools and colleges, when it’s a war we are goin’ to have, sure. My next school will be breakin’ heads.”
“Be the times, you’ll have yer own cracked!”
“Not before I’ve got even with some of the divilish Britons, methinks.”
“What be ye goin’ to see the prisident about?”
This interview, the reader will bear in mind, was before war had been declared.
“I am going to tell Prisident Madison to give Johnny Bull a good whippin’.”
“Prisident Madison will tell yez to moind yer own business,” the Hibernian answered.
“We’ll see about that!”
Terrence was determined on making the journey, and he set out next day by the mail coach for Washington City. Public houses in Washington were not numerous then, yet there were a few good hotels, and he put up at the old Continental House. Terrence, with all his reckless impetuosity, proceeded carefully to his point. Where boldness won success, he was bold; where caution and prudence were essential to win, he was cautious and prudent.
He noticed a door opening into a room from the main corridor, over which was tacked a strip of white canvas bearing in large black letters the words:
“HEADQUARTERS OF THE PEACE PARTY.”
Men were coming and going from this apartment with grave and serious faces and corrugated brows, as if they had the weight of all the world on their shoulders. Terrence watched the comers and goers awhile and then halted a colored chambermaid, and, in an awe-inspiring whisper, asked who was sick in the room “ferninst.” He was told no one. He thought some one must be dangerously ill, people went in and out so softly and talked in such low tones; but she assured him it was the room where the “peace party” met to discuss means to prevent President Madison and congress from declaring or prosecuting war against Great Britain. That those men were congressmen or merchants from Boston and other New England towns, who opposed war.
Terrence was opposed to peace, and he knew no better way to declare war than to begin it on the peace party. A bull was never made more furious at sight of a red flag, than Terrence Malone at the streamer of the peace party. One who knows what Terrence had suffered cannot blame him. At the very outset of the war, the government encountered open and secret, manly and cowardly opposition. The Federalists in congress, who had opposed the war scheme of the administration from the beginning, published an address to their constituents in which they set forth the state of the country at that time, the course of the administration, and its supporters in congress, and the minority opinion for opposing the war. This was fair and, if they acted on their convictions and not from political prejudices, was honorable; but outside and inside of congress there was a party of politicians composed of Federalists and disaffected Democrats, organized under the name of the Peace Party, whose object was to cast obstructions in the way of the prosecution of war, and to compel the government, by weakening its resources and embarrassing the operations, to make peace. They tried to derange the public finances, discredit the faith of the government, prevent enlistment, and in every way to cripple the administration and bring it into discredit with the people. It was an unpatriotic and mischievous faction, and the great leaders of the Federalists, like Mr. Quincy and Mr. Emot, who, when the war began, lent their aid to the government in its extremity, frowned upon these real enemies of their country; but the machinations of the Peace Party continued until the close of the war, and did infinite mischief unmixed with any good. [Footnote: Lossing’s “Our Country,” Vol. V., Page 1203.]
This was the contemptible Peace Party at whose headquarters Terrence Malone stood gazing. He determined to venture into the den and see what it was like. The hour for the opening of congress had arrived, and men with bundles of papers in their hands and anxious looks on their faces hurried away to the capitol building. Some were congressmen, but most of them were New England merchants. Terrence waited until all were gone, then, as the door of the headquarters stood wide open inviting him to enter, he walked boldly into the apartment.
A man about thirty-five, dressed very neatly, with glasses on, was writing at a table littered with papers.
“Good morning to yez,” said Terrence entering.
“Good morning, sir,” said the writer, giving him a glance and resuming his writing as if the fate of the nation depended on it.
“An’ so this is the place where ye make peace?”
“It’s the place where we keep peace. It’s the place where we oppose the foolish and suicidal policy of President Madison,” was the curt answer.
“Who are you, misther?”
“I am Ebenezer Crane, sir, secretary of the Peace Party.”
“Well, Misther Ebenezer Crane,” and Terrence glanced at the secretary’s long legs, as if he thought the name no misnomer, “will yez answer me a few questions?”
“Certainly,” and Mr. Crane threw down his pen, wheeled his chair about and looked vastly important. “What have you to ask?”
“Why do you oppose the war?”
“Why should I favor it?”
“Don’t the government promise protection to its citizens? Is not the blissed stars and stripes insulted by the British? Have not they set the murdherin’ haythin to killin’ innocent women and children on the frontier, and have they surrendered the posts as they should?”
Mr. Crane, with one wave of his hand, swept away every objection.
“That is all nothing!” he cried.
“Nothing! howly mother, sir! do you call it nothing for Americans to be knocked down, carried aboard British ships, to be made slaves, to be flogged until they die, and shot if they object?”
“Oh, those are all senseless, sensational stories, told for effect.”
“But I say they are true. I have jist returned from nearly four years service on a British man-o-war.”
“But, sir, we must look to the welfare of our country. What are the lives of a few sailors—common fellows—compared to the rich commerce we enjoy with England? The wealthy men of New England would surely be ruined by war.”
“Ye blackguard! do ye set up the riches of New England against the life of men because they are poor?”
“Certainly,” answered Mr. Crane, taking a cigar from his case, lighting it and proceeding to smoke. “What do Drake and Smoot, whom I represent, care for sailors like yourself? Why, if England wants such wretches, let her have them. We would sell them by the hundred, if we had our way. Caleb Strong, William Palmer and Roger Griswold, three of New England’s leaders, will never allow a soldier to march from their states to fight the English—oh, no!”
Terrence was now almost beside himself with rage. He vividly recalled the tyranny of Snipes, and remembered that many of his friends were still slaves aboard the man-of-war. His cheek flamed, and his eye flashed. Slowly rising, he said:
“Do yez set up yer riches aginst the poor lads, better than yerself, who are dyin’ by the hundreds in British slavery? Do ye? Why, ye spalpeen, ye have no more heart than a stone!”
“I don’t believe your stories in the first place, sir, and I don’t care if they are true in the second. What is the life or happiness of such a low creature as yourself to the prosperity of Strong, Palmer or Griswold? I think that impudence has mounted its topmost round, when you dare enter these headquarters.”
“So yer for peace?” cried Terrence, his eyes dancing.
“Well, I’m for war!” and with this he struck Mr. Crane a blow between his eyes which smashed his glasses, lifted him from the chair and sent him head first into a waste basket. When Mr. Crane recovered, he was at a loss for awhile to tell whether the house had fallen upon him, or he had been struck with a six pounder. Terrence disappeared from the Continental House, and on the next day applied at the white house to see the president.
“The president’s engaged,” said the servant. Next day, the next, and the next, he applied for admission and was always met with the same story that the president was engaged, until Terrence began to believe that the door of the administration was closed to him, while he saw members of congress constantly admitted to the inaccessible man.
At last, a gentleman who had witnessed his frequent calls, suggested that he send his card. The Irishman wrote:
“Terrence Malone, Irish American, late impressed seaman on H.B.M. ship Macedonian.”
President Madison read the card and appointed a meeting with Terrence, and at the hour appointed the Irishman was at the white house. A servant told him he would have to wait a few moments until Mr. Clay and Mr. Calhoun had finished a discussion with the president. Madison finally decided to have these young members of the house hear the Irishman’s story, and he was sent for. Terrence found himself in the presence of two of America’s greatest statesmen, Clay and Calhoun.
“Are you the prisident?” he asked of Mr. Madison.
“Yes, sir; these are our friends, Mr. Henry Clay, speaker of the house, and Mr. John C. Calhoun.”
“Are you for war or peace?” asked Terrence.
Mr. Madison, smiling, assured him they would much prefer peace, if it could be obtained honorably, but that Great Britain would have to make amends for some of the wrongs she had committed. He urged Terrence to give a detailed account of his impressment and captivity. He did so, omitting nothing from the time he was captured on the schooner bound to Baltimore to his escape. He was summoned a day or two later before a committee of investigation, and narrated the story in all its horrid details.
[Illustration: HENRY CLAY.]
The indignation against the Peace Party, who, in the face of all the evidence, would protest against war, was scarcely less than the indignation against Great Britain. The governor of Massachusetts (Caleb Strong), of New Hampshire (William Plumer) and of Connecticut (Roger Griswold), refused to allow the militia of their respective States to march to the northern frontier on the requisition of the president of the United States. They justified their course with the plea that such a requisition was unconstitutional, and that the war was unnecessary.
Terrence had frequent interviews with the president. His audacity and his intense zeal won the admiration of President Madison and his cabinet, as well as many congressmen. One day, while waiting in the anteroom, he noticed a man whose features were evidently Hibernian.
“Do yez want to see the prisident?” asked Terrence.
“To be sure; but I’ve waited long,” he answered, with just the least brogue in his speech.
[Illustration: JOHN C. CALHOUN.]
“Are ye fer war or peace?” asked Terrence, leading the stranger into a far corner. The stranger looked the young Hibernian in the face for a moment and answered:
“I am not an American; but if President Madison knew what I have to say, he’d give me an attentive ear.”
Terrence was shrewd enough to read the face of the stranger, and he knew he had something of great importance to communicate.
“Do yez want to see the prisident, really?” asked young Malone.
“Certainly, I do.”
“Lave it all to me,” the Irishman answered. Then he explained that he was on the best of terms with President Madison and could get the ear of the president, when an audience would be denied everybody else. He urged the stranger to give him an intimation of his business with Mr. Madison. One Irishman will nearly always trust another, so the two Hibernians repaired to a hotel and, in a close room, the stranger told Terrence that his name was John Henry, and that he had lived for several years in Canada. He told Terrence a story of the perfidy and treason of New Englanders; which produced many uncomplimentary ejaculations from the young Irishman.
Terrence at once sent a note to President Madison, in which he hinted that he had new and strange developments to make. Madison again admitted Terrence, and they arranged for a meeting between the president and Mr. John Henry, who had a letter from Mr. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts.
[Illustration: “IT ALL TO ME.”]
Late on a stormy night in February, 1812, Terrence conducted Henry to the mansion of President Madison. But little was done at this first meeting. Henry said he had some secrets to divulge which were of very great importance to the people of the United States. An interview was arranged for the next evening. Again Terrence conducted Henry to the president’s mansion.
On the way he said:
“Say what you say for war. I want to meet Captain Snipes on say or shore.”
When they were closeted in the president’s private office, Mr. Madison asked:
“Now, sir, who are you, and what is your business?”
“I’m John Henry, an Irishman, sir,” said Henry. “And I want to tell you that for two years efforts have been in progress on the part of British authorities in Canada, sanctioned by the home government, to effect a separation of the eastern States from the Union, and attach them to Great Britain.”
“Can that be possible?” cried the president. It was no news to him; for he had heard the rumor before; yet he had always regarded it as groundless;—at least he had doubted the disloyalty of his opponents in the East.
“It is every word true, Mr. President, and I have the very best proof in the world of it.”
“What proofs have you?”
“Can I speak freely?”
“Without danger of arrest or imprisonment?”
With this assurance, Henry said:
“I was in the employ of Sir James Craig, governor-general of Canada, in 1809, as a British spy to visit Boston and ascertain the temper of the people of New England.”
“You did so?”
“What was the temper of the people of New England?”
“At that time, sir, they seemed to be in a state of incipient rebellion, because of the passage of the embargo act. I was satisfied that the New Englanders were ripe for revolt and separation.”
“Well, was any action taken on your report?” asked the president.
“No, sir. My performances in the matter so pleased Sir James, that he promised to give me lucrative employment in the colonial government; but I waited and waited for the fulfillment of that promise, and in the meanwhile Sir James died. I went to England last year to seek remuneration for my services from the home government. I was flattered and cajoled for awhile, and introduced into the highest circles of society; but what did I want of society? I wanted money, and money I must have.”
“Did they not pay you?”
“Not a cent.”
“What did you ask?”
“I demanded thirty thousand pounds sterling and not a farthing less. I had done the odious duty of a spy for my government. I had risked my fortune, my liberty and my life in the service of England, and she requited me with empty promises.”
“They made you no offers?”
“None. I offered to take a lucrative position in Canada.”
“And they offered you none?”
“No. At last they seemed to grow weary with my demands, and hinted very strongly that the disaffection in New England toward the government of the United States was nothing more serious than a local partisan feeling, and, as a polite way of dismissing me and getting rid of my demand, they referred me to Sir George Prevost, the successor of Sir James Craig.”
“And have you called on Sir George?” asked Mr. Madison, coolly.
“No, sir; I have had enough of their delaying and dallying, and instead of sailing for Quebec, I sailed for Boston, determined, if the government of the United States would pay me for it, to divulge the whole secret of British perfidy to this government.”
“We’ll pay ye, won’t we, Misther Madison?” put in Terrence, with his characteristic impertinence.
“What proofs have you of the perfidy of Great Britain?” asked the president.
“I have letters, sir, and official documents which would make any honorable man blush.”
“No doubt of it, yer honor,” put in Terrence.
“Have you those papers with you, Mr. Henry?” asked the careful president.
“Some of them.”
“Will you produce them, so I may judge what they are?”
“Yes, the prisident and mesilf want to get a squint at the dockymints,” put in Terrence.
The very impertinence of Terrence was his success. Mr. Madison could not repress a smile.
Henry laid before the president the strong documentary evidence, which clearly proved that Great Britain, while indulging in the most friendly expressions toward the United States, and negotiating treaties, was secretly engaged in efforts to destroy the young republic of the West, by fomenting disaffection toward it among a portion of the people, and intriguing with disaffected politicians with an expectation, with the aid of British arms, to be able to separate New England from the Union and re-annex that territory to the British dominions.
Madison, who was just about to declare war against Great Britain, was well satisfied of the importance of Henry’s disclosures. Examining them carefully, he asked:
“What do you ask for these papers?”
“Lave that all to me, Misther Madison,” said Terrence with an earnestness which caused the grave Mr. Madison to smile; but Mr. Madison was not inclined to leave so important a matter with Terrence. He again asked Henry how much he asked for those papers.
“I want one hundred thousand dollars.”
“It’s too much, Misther Madison; we can’t give it,” declared Terrence.
Madison, glancing at the impetuous Irishman, said that he could not pass on such an important matter without consulting his cabinet and taking their advice in the matter, and consequently he dismissed his visitors for the present, assuring Mr. Henry that he would give the matter of purchasing his documents serious consideration, and in the course of three or four days at most hold another conference with them. The secret service fund was at the disposal of the president, and he determined to purchase the documents with this fund, if his cabinet would so advise. The advice was given, and he sent a proposition to Henry, offering him fifty thousand dollars for his documents, which consisted chiefly of the correspondence of the parties to the affair in this country and in England.
Henry accepted the offer and was paid the sum for his papers.
Terrence obtained an interview with the president and said:
“Misther Madison, why the divil did yez pay him such a price? If ye’d ‘a’ left it all to me, I’d won the papers in three games of poker.”
The president thanked him and assured him that the government of the United States could well afford to purchase such valuable documents.
“And now, Misther Madison, I am about to lave ye for awhile,” said Terrence, “and I want to ask ye a very important question!”
“What is it?”
“Mind ye, if ye say yes, I’m goin’ to stand by ye through thick and thin.” Mr. Madison assured him that his time was very much taken up, and begged that he would be as brief as possible.
“Are ye going to declare war, Misther Madison? Now ye needn’t do any of the fighting yersilf. All I ask is that ye just turn me loose. I’ve got a frind, poor Sukey, who is still on board the English ship, and I just want permission to go and bring him back.”
President Madison assured him that the public would be notified in due time what course the administration would pursue, and that it was his intention to maintain the honor and dignity of the nation to the last extremity.
Terrence left the president and went over to the Continental House to see how Mr. Crane, the worthy secretary, looked with a rotten apple bandaged over each eye. Terrence was arrested for assault and battery, plead guilty, and the patriotic Democrats took up a collection and paid his fine.
The disclosures of the documents procured from Henry, when made public, intensified the indignation of the Americans against Great Britain. The inhabitants of New England were annoyed by the implied disparagement of the patriotism of their section of the Union. Both parties tried to make political capital out of the affair. The Democrats vehemently reiterated the charge that the Federalists were a “British party” and “disunionists,” while the opposition declared it was only a political move of the administration to damage their party, insure the re-election of Madison in the Autumn of 1812, and offer an excuse for the war. The acrimony caused by these partisan feelings was at its height, when the New England governors refused to send their militia to the frontier; and the British government, in declaring the blockade of the American coast, discriminated in favor of that section. That the British, mistaking partisan feeling for unpatriotic disaffection, hoped to carry out their plan for disunion, there is no doubt; but the suspicion that the New England people contemplated disunion and annexation to the English colonies was probably without foundation.
Terrence Malone remained in Washington City during the fierce contest between the Peace Party and the War Party. He was a constant thorn in the side of the peace faction, and more than once came to blows with some of the members. When war was declared, he sent the word to president that he was ready to set out at once, and shortly after took command of a privateer, which his father fitted out.
While New England was halting in its support of the war, the people of the South and West were alive with enthusiasm in favor of prosecuting it with sharp and decisive vigor. They had already suffered much from the Indians under British control, and the massacre at Chicago kindled a flame of indignation not easily to be controlled by prudence.
The government resolved to retrieve the disaster at Detroit, by an invasion of Canada on the Niagara frontier. For this purpose, a requisition was made upon the governor of New York for the militia of that State. He patriotically responded to the call, and Stephen Van Rensselaer, the last of the Patroons and a patriotic Federalist retired from public life, was commissioned a major-general and placed in command of the militia. The forces were concentrated at Lewiston on the Niagara River, Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain, and at Greenebush, opposite Albany.
The British had, meanwhile, assembled a considerable force on Queenstown Heights, opposite Lewiston. At midsummer, hostile demonstrations had been made on Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence frontier. Both parties early sought to get control of those waters, and the preparation of armed vessels on them was vigorously begun.
An armistice was concluded by General Dearborn. This armistice enabled Brock to concentrate forces at Detroit and compel Hull to surrender.
On the morning of the 13th of October, just after a heavy storm, Colonel Soloman Van Rensselaer passed over the river near Lewiston with less than three hundred men. They routed the British there, who fled toward Lewiston pursued by Captain John E. Wool, who, though wounded, did not relinquish the pursuit.
General Brock and his staff at Fort George hastened to the scene, but were compelled to fly, not having time even to mount their horses. In a few minutes, the American flag was waving over the fort.
Brock rallied his forces and, with fresh troops, pressed up the hill after the Americans, but, after a terrible struggle, was driven back and mortally wounded. General Sheaffe, who succeeded Brock, rallied the troops. Only two hundred and forty Americans were on the heights. Lieutenant-Colonel (afterward Major-General) Winfield Scott had passed over the river to act as a volunteer. At request of General Wadsworth he took active command. The Americans, reinforced to six hundred, were assailed by a horde of Indians under John Brandt. Scott led a charge against them and drove them to the woods; but overwhelming forces of British poured in on the Americans, and Van Rensselaer, who had gone to send over militia, found they would not cross the river, their excuse being that they were not compelled to serve out of their own State.
Overwhelming numbers compelled the Americans to surrender. All the prisoners were marched to New Ark, where Scott came near having an encounter with two Indian chiefs.
On the 13th of October, 1812, the Americans lost, in killed, wounded and prisoners, about eleven hundred men. General Van Rensselaer left the service in disgust and was succeeded by Alexander Smythe of Virginia, who accomplished nothing of importance during the remainder of the season. The situation of the Americans at the close of 1812 was this: The army of the northwest was occupying a defensive position among the snows of the wilderness on the banks of the Maumee River; the army of the centre, under General Smythe, was resting on the defensive on the Niagara frontier, and the army of the north, under General Bloomfield, was also resting on the defensive at Plattsburgh.
So far, the advantages had been altogether with the enemy, who were no more gratified than the Peace Party, with their excellent excuse for saying, “I told you so!”
FERNANDO SEES SERVICE.
The trump of war stirred two passions in the heart of Fernando Stevens, revenge and patriotism. One was a noble and the other a very human but ignoble passion; but Fernando was only a common mortal with mortal weaknesses. When he reflected on the wrongs he had suffered; when he remembered the death of poor Boseley, slain to gratify the malice of Captain Snipes, and poor Sukey still the slave of the British monarch, he could not be other than revengeful.
“Mother,” he said one day, shortly after they had heard of war. “I am going to enter the army.”
The mother, who was plying her needle, sat for several moments in silence. She was not surprised at the declaration. For several days, she had watched her son with the care and anxiety of a mother. She had noted that he read the papers regularly. He pored over any news which hinted of war and was an eager listener to the latest rumor which his father brought from town. The parents had talked the matter over frequently, and Captain Stevens, himself a veteran, said:
“I can’t blame him; no, I can’t blame him. Poor boy, he has suffered enough to know the wrongs done to our flag.”
“But would it be for the flag, or revenge?” said the mother.
“Both,” answered the practical father. “He is only human, wife, and human hearts can’t endure what he endured without human resentment.”
The mother hoped it was more patriotism than revenge, for she was a Christian lady, and while war might be proper, even for Christian people, she thought it should be purely a conflict of principle and not of revenge.
“Fernando,” said the mother laying aside her knitting and taking off her glasses and wiping them, “do you really mean to go?”
“Yes, mother. My country needs my services. There are thousands of unfortunate Americans, still in bondage. I seem to hear their pitiful cries calling on their country to send brave men to their rescue.”
“I have expected this,” sighed Mrs. Stevens, and tears gathered in her eyes.
“Mother, would you have me stay?”
It was hard for a mother to say it; but she had to do so. She was patriotic, and she answered:
“Then I will go.”
“They are beating up for volunteers at town, and I am going there to enlist in a day or two. First I must help father drain the flat and clear off a few timber patches.”
It soon became rumored all over the neighborhood that Fernando was going to enlist. Many friends came to see him, bid him good-by and wish him God-speed. The day before he went away, he was chopping wood, when he saw a large man riding a large bay mare followed by a large colt, cross the old bridge a few hundred paces below and ascend the hill toward the house. The visitor was Mr. Winners. He had grown older and stouter, and the mare was older and heavier, and this was her fourth colt since he had come over to talk with his neighbor about sending his son to college with Fernando. The kind, good face of the old farmer expressed sadness, and his eye, always dull, seemed melancholy.
He rode slowly up the hill to where Fernando was chopping wood. Fernando saw him coming and laid down his axe, for it was quite evident that Mr. Winners wanted to speak with him. The old man, drawing rein close by Fernando, said:
“Mornin’, Fernando, how’s all?”
“We are all well, Mr. Winners. How are yourself and family?”
“Oh, we are just middlin’ like.”
“Won’t you alight and come into the house?”
“No; I ain’t got time, Fernando. I just came to see you, that’s all. Fernando, I hear as how you’re goin’ t’ ther war.”
“I am, Mr. Winners. I am a young man with no wife or children. My country just now stands in need of young men.”
“Ya-as, it does, an’ I don’t come t’ blame ye for it,—mind ye, I don’t blame ye fur it. I’m sometimes tempted to go myself, old as I am.”
“No, no, Mr. Winners, there is no occasion. Let the younger men do the service.”
“I don’t blame ye, for goin’, Fernando; but I hope ye won’t furgit one thing.”
“My Sukey’s on t’other side. Now that fightin’s begun, he’ll have to light his own flag; but he won’t do it with a very good grace, lem me tell ye. No, he won’t. Now, Fernando, I don’t want to ask ye to ease down on the British a bit; but when ye come to the crowd that Sukey’s with, won’t ye kind a shoot easy?”
Fernando promised to do all he could to aid Sukey to escape, and assured him that, when once he was free, the cruel masters should pay for their tyranny. The old man seemed partially satisfied, and, as he rode away, he twisted himself half way round in the saddle to say:
“Now, Fernando, if ye meet Sukey’s crowd, I want ye to remember to shoot easy.”
“I will not harm Sukey, if I can help it,” Fernando answered. Next morning, he bade his parents farewell and, with his clothes tied up in a little bundle, set out on his way to the town.
A flag was streaming from a long pole, and Fernando heard the roll of the drum and the shrill notes of a fife. The company was more than half made up when he arrived. He enlisted at once and four days later the company was ready to march.
As yet the armies of the United States were not organized, and for some time Captain George Rose was at a loss what to do with his volunteers. They were riflemen, ready for any detached service to which they might be assigned. The militia forces raised were, of course, to serve in their own respective States; but the volunteers were allowed to attach to any regiment they chose. For some time, it was doubtful whether Captain Rose would be sent West under Hull and Harrison, or to the North to act under General Jacob Brown.
The latter course was at last decided upon, and they hurried to the northern frontier of New York. But small preparations had been made for the defence of this portion of the frontier. From Oswego to Lake St. Francis, an expansion of the St. Lawrence, General Brown’s forces were scattered. The length of this territory was about two hundred miles. There was only one American war-vessel (the Oneida) on Lake Ontario. This was commanded by Lieutenant Melancthon Woolsey; while the British, in anticipation of difficulties, had built at Kingston, at the foot of the lake, a small squadron of light vessels-of-war. Brown and Woolsey were authorized to defend the frontier from invasion, but not to act on the offensive except in certain emergencies.
About the 20th of July, Fernando’s company joined the regiment of Colonel Bellinger at Sackett’s Harbor, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. Nine days later, the British squadron composed of the Royal George, 24 guns, Prince Regent, 22 guns, Earl of Moira, 20 guns, Simcoe, 12 guns, and Seneca, 4 guns, appeared and bore down on the American forces there. Fernando was sleeping when the discovery was made, but was soon roused and saw soldiers hauling in the Oneida so as to lay her broadside to the approaching enemy. Colonel Bellinger’s militia were many of them raw recruits, and the approach of a fleet unnerved a few of them; but the majority were cool as veterans.
“Take that thirty-two pound gun up on the bluff,” commanded the colonel, pointing out an old iron cannon down by the shore.
Fernando assisted them to drag it to the rocky bluff, and the whole battery was placed in charge of Captain Vaughn, a sailing master in the navy. Slowly the fleet bore in, the Royal George, having the heaviest guns, coming ahead of the others. A wreath of smoke curled up from her forecastle, and a ball, skipping over the water, struck the sandy beach.
Captain Rose and his company of riflemen took up their station on the high bluff, where, should the troops attempt to land, they might do effective work. Fernando had been promoted to sergeant in the company and was quite popular with both officers and men.
For two hours, a cannonade between the Royal George and the big guns on shore was kept up, with very little effect, when a 32 pound ball from the former came over the bluff and ploughed a furrow near where the riflemen were standing. Fernando ran and caught up the ball and, running with it to Captain Vaughn, said:
“Captain Vaughn, I’ve been playing ball with the redcoats, and I have caught them out.”
“That will just fit our gun,” said the captain. “Hand it to the gunner.”
Fernando did so. The gunner said:
“Captain, it fits better than our own balls. The shot we have been firing were all too small.”
“Send it back to them,” said Captain Vaughn.
The gun was trained and fired. The heavy boom rang out over the bluffs and water. The ball went through the Royal George from stern to stem, sending splinters as high as her mizzen topsail yard, killing fourteen men and wounding eighteen.
This ended the bombardment. The squadron, alarmed, sailed out of the harbor.
Eight merchant schooners were at Ogdensburg, being converted into American war vessels, and, immediately after being repulsed at Sackett’s Harbor, two of the British armed vessels started to Ogdensburg to destroy them. The American schooner Julia was armed and, with sixty volunteers from the Oneida and Fernando’s company of riflemen in a boat, set out to overtake the British. They caught up with them among the Thousand Islands, on the 31st of July, fought for three hours with the enemy, and then, in the shadows of an intensely dark night, relieved occasionally by flashes of lightning, reached Ogdensburg in safety before morning.
During the armistice which was granted shortly after this, the Julia and her consort and the six schooners made their way to the lake, where the latter were converted into vessels-of-war.
On the 8th of November, Chauncey appeared in those waters with a fleet of seven armed war-schooners and, after a short cruise, disabled the Royal George and blockaded the British harbor of Kingston. Fernando, meanwhile, was at Ogdensburg under General Brown, who had about fifteen hundred troops, including the militia. On the 1st of October, the very day of General Brown’s arrival, a large flotilla of British bateaux, escorted by a gun-boat, appeared at Prescott, on the opposite side of the river. This flotilla contained armed men, who, on the 4th of October, attempted to cross the river and attack Ogdensburg, but were repulsed by the Americans. Eight days later, Fernando was with Major G.D. Young when he captured a large portion of a British detachment at St. Regis, an Indian village on the line between the United States and Canada. Fernando was close at the side of Lieutenant William L. Marcy (afterward governor of New York), when he captured a British flag, the first trophy of the kind taken on land in the war.
While lying at Ogdensburg, Fernando heard of the daring feat of Lieutenant Jesse Elliott, who, with a picked party of seamen and riflemen, had at Black Rock, under the British heavy guns, captured the war-schooner Caledonia and burned the Detroit. While these many stories of the bravery of Americans were thrilling the hearts of patriots, the cowardice of the pompous General Smythe at Buffalo caused much ridicule and humiliation.
Despite all his boasts and threats to invade Canada, he remained on American soil. He was finally dismissed from the service, and, in a petition to congress to reinstate him, he prayed for permission to “die for his country.” His petition excited much ridicule, and, at a public celebration of Washington’s birthday, a wit proposed the following:
“General Smythe’s petition to congress to die for his country. May it be ordered that the prayer of said petition be granted!”
Early in January, 1813, Fernando Stevens’ company, being Ohio volunteers, was for some reason, he never knew what, transferred to the army of the West. General William H. Harrison had succeeded Hull in command of this army. Historians do not accord to General Harrison the distinction of greatness, though he was one of the successful generals of the last war with England. It was under him that first victories were gained over the British in the Northwest. Though his name goes down to posterity connected with the battle of the Thames, Colonel Richard M. Johnson was the real hero of that conflict. Johnson’s Kentucky riflemen fought and won the battle, though Harrison received the credit. Harrison was even more honorably remembered for his Indian wars, and, as the hero of Tippecanoe, gained a fast hold on the public heart; but Tippecanoe was only a skirmish and, viewed in the light of a battle, could hardly be considered a great victory. The American losses were probably as great, if not greater than the Indians, and it was only an accident that Harrison was not surprised. Tippecanoe was fought by the soldiers, and to their coolness and courage belonged the victory. Critically speaking, General Harrison was inferior in military genius to both Jackson and Brown. He wanted the terrible energy, the almost reckless bravery which characterized these two leaders. He belonged to a different school altogether. His was a policy of Fabius rather than of Marcellus, and this not from necessity but for choice. The bent of his mind was to be prudent, economic of means, willing to listen to advice, a very excellent qualification for a general or a statesman.
The dispute between Harrison and Winchester had been settled before Captain Rose with his company reached the army and joined General Winchester, then on his march to the Raisin, January 21, 1813. As Winchester’s volunteers were mostly Kentuckians, Fernando found many friends among them. Some had formerly lived in Ohio. On the same evening, they reached Frenchtown, where they found Colonel Lewis, who, with Allen and six hundred men, had defeated and routed a force of British and Indians under Major Reynolds.
The troops were in the highest spirits, and all were anxious to press on to drive General Proctor from Malden.
The day had been cold, and Fernando was wearied with long marches through snow, ice and mud. The ground was covered with snow which had but a thin frozen crust over it, and the soldiers frequently broke through, especially in the swampy regions they crossed. Their second lieutenant was sick; the first lieutenant, being wounded, was left behind, and the management of the company fell upon Captain Rose and his orderly sergeant, Fernando Stevens.
Captain Rose, though a brave man, loved his ease and comfort, so the most irksome duty fell upon the orderly. He saw that quarters as comfortable as were possible were made for the men. Boards, canvas, brush and everything possible to make a shelter were provided. The wintry sky was clear, and when night came on the stars came out one by one. The moon shone on the snow-covered earth, so soon to be crimsoned with patriotic blood.
Fernando Stevens and Captain Rose were quartered in an old shed building, with a roaring fire in the broad fireplace. Their quarters were quite comfortable, and, after having made all the necessary arrangements for the company’s comfort, Fernando partook of a light supper and, wrapping himself in a blanket, lay down on the left side of the broad fireplace to sleep. Corporal Mott entered and told Captain Rose, who sat smoking his pipe, that Colonels Wells and Lewis were having some trouble about their positions.
“Why should they quarrel over that?” asked Captain Rose taking his pipe from his mouth.
“Wells, who is colonel of regulars, claims to outrank Lewis, and demands to be posted on the right.”
“That’s in an open field.”
“Yes; Lewis thinks that, in case of an attack, Wells should be posted in some gardens on the left.”
“Lewis knows more about it than Wells or Winchester either,” growled Captain Rose.
“Yes; but Winchester decided in favor of Wells. There is also a rumor that Proctor is on his way from Malden to attack us.”
“I hope it is so,” said Captain Rose. “If he will come here and take his whipping like a man, it will save us going to Malden to give it to him.”
Then they wondered what General Harrison was doing and when they would join him; but Fernando left off listening to their conversation and gazed into the glowing fire before which he lay stretched on his blanket.
His mind was busy with his own sad life. All through the long years of trying events, he had never forgotten Morgianna. Her sweet face had haunted him while a slave on the British war-ship. In the camp, or on the battle field, she was ever near him. A thousand times he had said to himself:
“Oh, why can I not forget her? Morgianna is nothing to me. No doubt, long ere this she has married Lieutenant Matson and is happy. May God bless her in her happiness, and may Heaven spare her husband.”
It never once entered his mind that she could possibly care for him. She had been so cool, so careless, and seemed so unconcerned on the night of their parting, that he thought she must be glad that he was away and had ceased to annoy her.
Yet her face, as he remembered it that night, lying gazing into the fire, half asleep and half awake, was lovely, and she was blameless. To him, she was a goddess to be worshipped, one incapable of wrong. If she had rejected him, it was right. If she had loved the lieutenant, it was perfectly right; yet he could not crush her image out of his heart. It was indelibly stamped there, and had become a part of his existence.
The bleak northeast wind swept through the woods and howled about the rude shanty, rattling the boards and causing the sentries to shiver, as they drew their cloaks about their shoulders. Fernando felt almost comfortable in this retreat, and the fire burned low, still giving out a generous heat.
Two officers from another company came to their quarters, and the last Fernando remembered was hearing them talking of the disposition of the troops and the probability of meeting the enemy and sharing the glory which Lewis and Allen had won but three days before.
Their voices were low and indistinct and finally became mingled with his dreams of the past, forming a mass of events, sights and sounds which at first had no meaning. At last the scene changed. The officers ceased talking, the firelight disappeared, and his dreaming fancy, which had been struggling with these realities, was freed to take what course it chose.
He was once more on the sands of Mariana. He saw the great white stone house on the hill and the form of Morgianna descending toward the seashore. He knew he had been gone for years, was conscious that their parting had been unpleasant, and yet her appearance seemed to inspire his heart with hope. The sun’s golden rays fell upon the bright, fairy-like being as, with a glad smile she hastened toward him.
“You have come at last,” she said, with a happy smile. “I have waited so long, oh, so long, that I feared you would never come.”
“Morgianna!” he cried, starting forward and clasping her in his arms. “Are you pleased to see me?”
“I am happy, Fernando, oh, so happy——”
Then he was partially awakened by some one throwing logs of wood on the fire, and he had an indistinct impression of hearing a soldier say:
“It’s four o’clock and has begun to snow a little. We’ll have it cold as blazes by morning.”
As the fire roared, and the wind whistled about their miserable barracks, he sank away into dreamland again. He had hardly been sufficiently awakened to break the thread of his dreams. His mind however was disturbed by the entrance of the officer, and though he wooed back the gentle dream, it had lost much of its charm and brightness.
He saw Morgianna no longer wreathed in sweet smiles; her face was expressive of distress and agony. The joy and sunlight had given place to sorrow and gloom. What had occasioned this change?
“Morgianna, do you not love me?”
She bowed her head and wept.
“What is amiss?”
She pointed to her once beautiful home, and he discovered that it was in flames. Painted demons, whose yells seemed to make the earthquake, were dancing about the blazing, crackling building. Then wild cheers came from the ocean, with the boom of a cannon.
He saw British marines, headed by Captain Snipes and Lieutenant Matson, leap from boats and rush toward them as they stood on the beach.
“Fly! Morgianna, fly!” he cried.
She turned to run, and Fernando, all unarmed as he was, wheeled to face the foe. Suddenly there came a rattling crash of firearms. He saw Morgianna throw up her arms, and he sprang toward her, as she fell bleeding at his feet. He uttered a cry of horror and became conscious of some one shaking his shoulder.
“Wake up, for Heaven sake, awake! we are attacked!” cried the voice of Captain Rose.
On his ear, there still came a confused noise of cries, shouts, reports of firearms and boom of artillery.
“Sergeant Stevens, awake!”
He sprang to his feet and seized his rifle. The roaring of the battle could be plainly heard, and a cannon-ball came crashing through the top of their miserable shanty.
They leaped out to find all in utter confusion. General Winchester, who, despite his faults, was no coward, was mounted on his horse rallying his men at every point. Wells was forming on the open fields, and Lewis, in a very disadvantageous position, was making a strong fight. It was scarcely daylight yet. The air was sharp and frosty; but the snow had ceased falling. Day was dawning; but in the deeper shadows of the wood the night lingered in patches.
From the forest came those streams of fire, those storms of grape-shot and the yells of savage demons. A bombshell came screaming through the air and fell into one of the shanties, exploding and scattering the loose boards in every direction.
“Who has attacked us?” some of the officers asked Winchester.
“Proctor from Malden,” was the answer.
It was just as day began to dawn, that Proctor, with his combined force of British, Canadians and Indians, attacked the Americans, while Fernando was still lost in the mazes of a troubled dream. With his right covered with artillery, and his flanks with marksmen, Proctor advanced at first gallantly; but when he approached within musket-shot of the pickets, he was met by such a galling and incessant fire, that the centre of his army fell back in confusion. On the left, however, he was more successful. Perceiving the exposed situation of the detachment under Wells, Proctor hastened to concentrate all his forces against it. A furious conflict ensued on this part of the field. Sharp and rapid volleys followed in quick succession from either side, while high and clear above the terrible din of battle, rose the war-whoop of savages and the wild cheers of the Kentuckians. That little band, unprotected as it was, could not long hold out against overwhelming numbers. The sun rose over the bleak woods, and, after a short fight of twenty minutes, Winchester ordered Wells to fall back and gain the enclosures of Lewis.
At the first symptom of retreat, the enemy redoubled their exertions and pressed so obstinately on the Americans, that the little line was soon thrown into disorder. A panic seized the Kentuckians, who had just defended themselves so bravely, and mistaking the command to fall back, for directions to retreat, they rushed to the river, which they crossed on the ice, and began to fly through the woods, in the direction of the Maumee Rapids. Exhilarated by victory, the British gave pursuit, the chase being led by the savages, who tasted, in anticipation, the blood of the fugitives. In vain Winchester, riding among the men, endeavored to rally them; in vain Colonels Lewis and Allen, hurrying from their enclosures with a company of fifty men each, struggled to check the torrent of defeat. Nothing would avail. Allen fell, bravely fighting in the desperate attempt; while Winchester, with Lewis and other officers were taken prisoners. The rout now became a massacre. The Indians, like hungry tigers, pursued the soldiers and brought them down with rifle or tomahawk. Of the whole of that chivalrous band which had left the Raisin with Winchester two days before, all were slaughtered except forty who were taken prisoners and twenty-eight who escaped. The troops at Frenchtown, about six hundred able-bodied men, surrendered. Sixty-four wounded prisoners were burned in a house.
Why dwell on the horrors of the River Raisin? They are matters of history which had better be forgotten than remembered. Fernando Stevens’ company did excellent work until the retreat began. Captain Rose, with his sharpshooters, sought to cover the retreat of the Americans, but discovered that they were about to be flanked.
“Sergeant, Sergeant!” cried Captain Rose, “we must fly!”
The two officers were almost alone on the field; but, taking to their heels, they soon outstripped three big Indians who were trying to head them off. Fernando shot one of the savages with his pistol and, dodging the hatchets which the others threw at him, charged them with his clubbed rifle and knocked one down. The other fled. Fernando did not attempt to pursue him, but flew as fast as his legs could carry him to the river.
He had reached the middle of the frozen stream, which was covered with ghastly forms, when Captain Rose suddenly clasped his hand to his side and uttered a groan.
“Captain, are you hit?” he asked.
Captain Rose made no answer, but turned partially around. His eyes were closed; his jaw fell, and Fernando saw he was sinking. He caught him in his arms; but Captain Rose was dead before he touched the ice.
There was no time to waste with dead friends, and Fernando fled to the wood beyond.
For a long time, the Indians were close at his heels. Once they were so near that he heard a tomahawk as it came fluttering through the air past his head. Then the sounds of pursuit grew less, and at last he found himself alone on a hill. Three Indians were following on his trail, and he concealed himself behind a tree until they were within range of his rifle, and then fired.
One of them fell, and his companions ran away.
Fernando continued his flight until nearly night, when he fell in with four Kentuckians, who had escaped the massacre, and they proceeded to the Maumee Rapids, where General Harrison was building Fort Meigs.
Fernando was in the fort when it was besieged several weeks later by Proctor and Tecumseh with fully two thousand men. General Clay coming to his assistance on the 5th of May, Proctor retreated.
Colonel Dudley made a sortie from Fort Meigs on the same day and was drawn into an ambuscade. He was mortally wounded and lost six hundred and fifty men.
Mr. Madison, who had been re-elected president of the United States, showed a disposition to prosecute the war with great vigor. While the success of the Americans on land was not very encouraging, to the surprise of everybody, their greatest achievements were on water. England’s boasted navies seemed to have become second to the American war-vessels. On Lake Erie, Commodore Oliver Perry, in command of an inferior fleet, had won a signal victory over Commodore Barclay after a long and hotly contested battle. There has never been such a remarkable naval victory on fresh water. Perry’s famous dispatch to General Harrison, “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” has become a proverb.
Shortly after the repulse of Proctor, Fernando, who had taken a place in another company, was sent to Fort Stephenson, then commanded by Major George Croghan, a regular army officer only twenty-one years of age. Proctor’s dusky allies marched across the country to assist the British in the siege of the fort; and when, on the afternoon of the 31st, the British transports and gunboats appeared at a turn in the river a mile from the fort, the woods were swarming with Indians.
[Illustration: JAMES MADISON.]
Within the fort, all were calm, pale, yet determined. Only one hundred and sixty men were there to oppose the hosts of Proctor and Tecumseh. Proctor sent a demand to the fort for surrender, accompanied by the usual threat of massacre by the Indians in case of refusal. To his surprise, Major Croghan sent a defiant refusal. A cannonade from the gunboats and howitzers which the British had landed commenced.
All night long the great guns played upon the fort without any serious effect, occasionally answered by the solitary six-pound cannon of the garrison, which was rapidly shifted from one block house to another, to give the impression that the fort was armed with several guns. During the night, the British dragged three six-pound cannon to a point higher than the fort to open on it in the morning.
It was a trying night for Fernando. All night long, the incessant thunder of cannon shook the air, and the great balls, striking the sides of the earthworks, or bursting over their heads, presented a scene grand but awful.
Morning came slowly and wearily to the besieged. As the gray dawn melted into the rosy hues of sunrise, many a brave man within that fort looked up for the last time, as he thought, but still with no unmanly fear, only with that sad feeling which the boldest will experience when he sees himself about to be immolated. Such a feeling, perhaps, crossed the heart of Leonidas, when he fastened on his buckler and waited for the Persian thousands. Fernando stood near Croghan, who was in front of his men, calm in that hour of extreme peril. It soon became apparent that the enemy did not intend an immediate assault, for, with the battery of six pieces, they began a fearful cannonade.
“Lie under the breastworks,” said Croghan to his men as the balls were hurled about the fort, or bounded from the ramparts. The surface of the ground in the line of fire, soon became covered with smoke, which every few moments was rent by a whistling ball.
All that long forenoon Fernando Stevens remained behind the works occasionally picking off a gunner at long range. When the hot August sun began to decline in the West, the roar of artillery seemed to increase rather than diminish. At last he heard the young commander say:
“They are concentrating on the northwest corner of the fort; that is the point from which the attack will be made.” He called to Fernando and a dozen other sharpshooters and hastened to the threatened spot. Every man who could be spared from other quarters was put in requisition, and every bag of sand and flour that could be found was hurriedly collected and sent to strengthen the angle.
“Lieutenant Stevens,” said Major Croghan, “get your riflemen together and pick off those fellows as fast as you can. Never mind those bags of sand. Others will attend to them.”
Fernando and his score of sharpshooters soon began dropping the redcoats as fast as they could see them. The solitary cannon, the only hope of the defenders, was loaded to its fullest capacity and trained so as to enfilade the enemy. The gunner who rammed home the charge said:
“By thunder, she’s almost full to the muzzle. Shouldn’t wonder if she’d bust.” Each soldier took his position. A tremendous volley of cannon shots suddenly rained on the fort. It seemed as if the British had fired every gun at the same instant. A profound silence succeeded within, which lasted for perhaps two minutes, at the end of which time the enemy was seen to advance through the smoke, in one compact column, with the steady tread of assured victors. When Croghan gave the order to fire, such a withering volley was poured in by the garrison, that the British reeled and fell into disorder. Whatever others may have done in that fire, Fernando’s sharpshooters wasted no bullets. For a moment, the Britons wavered and were about to fly, when Lieutenant-Colonel Short, who led the British in assault, sprang to the front of his soldiers and, waving his sword above his head, cried:
“Cut away the pickets, my brave boys, and show the d—d Yankees no quarter!”
A wild, angry shout answered this appeal, and the ranks recovering their order, the head of the column rushed forward, and leaped down into the ditch, which was soon densely crowded. This was the time for which Croghan had waited. Another minute and the fort would have been captured. The over-loaded six-pounder, so trained as to rake the assailants, now bore fully on the masses of soldiery in the ditch. The dark mask which had concealed it was suddenly jerked aside, and Croghan cried:
The match was applied. A clap of thunder, a sheet of flame, a hissing sound of grape, shrieks and groans, and Fernando saw whole ranks mowed down, as the white smoke arose for a moment hiding the prospect from view. When the veil of battle blew aside, he saw such a scene of horror as he had never before witnessed. At first a lane was perceptible extending through the densest portion of the assaulting mass, marking the path traversed by the shot; but as the distance from the gun increased, and the grape scattered, this clearly defined line gave place to a prospect of the wildest confusion. One third of those who had entered the ditch lay there a shapeless, quivering mass. In many instances, the dead had fallen on the wounded, and as the latter struggled to extricate themselves, the scene resembled that depicted in old paintings of the final judgment, where fiends and men wrestle in horrible contortions. Groans, shrieks and curses more terrible than all rose from that Golgotha. Lieutenant-Colonel Short was among the slain. The few who retained life and strength, after the first second of amazement, rushed from the post of peril, leaped wildly upon the bank, and, communicating their terror to the rest of the column, the whole took flight and buried itself in the neighboring woods; while such a shout went up to heaven from the conquerors as had never been heard on that wild shore before. Well might the Americans exult, for the successful resistance was against ten times their own number. The British loss was one hundred and fifty. That hot day, August 2, 1813, at five o’clock in the evening, George Croghan by one cannon-shot immortalized himself.
Fernando Stevens had been under a terrible strain all the day and the night before, and no sooner was the enemy gone, than he sank exhausted on the ground with scores of others.
Shortly after the gallant and successful defence of Fort Stephenson, Fernando, with a detached squad of twenty riflemen, joined General Harrison, and was subsequently assigned to the regiment of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, whose Kentuckians won the battle of the Thames.
After his signal defeat at Fort Stephenson, Proctor with his British troops returned to Malden by water, while Tecumseh with his followers passed over by land, round the head of Lake Erie, and joined him at that point. Discouraged by want of success, and having lost all confidence in General Proctor, Tecumseh seriously meditated a withdrawal from the contest, but was induced by Proctor to remain.
From a distant shore, Tecumseh witnessed Perry’s wonderful naval battle; but of course could not determine which had been victorious. Proctor, to reconcile the chief, said:
“My fleet has whipped the Americans; but the vessels being much injured, have gone into Put-in Bay to refit and will be here in a few days.”
This base falsehood did not deceive the wily Indian. The sagacious eye of Tecumseh soon perceived indications of a retreat. He finally demanded, in the name of the Indians under his command, to be heard, and on September 18, 1813, delivered to Proctor, as the representative of their great father, the king, the following speech:
“Father, listen to your children. You have them now all before you. The war before this, our British father gave the hatchet to his red children, when our old chiefs were alive. They are now dead. In that war our father was thrown on his back by the Americans, and our father took them by the hand without our knowledge, and we are afraid that our father will do so again at this time. Summer before last, when I came forward with my red brethren and was ready to take up the hatchet in favor of our British father, we were told not to be in a hurry, that he had not yet determined to fight the Americans. Listen! when war was declared, our father stood up and gave us the tomahawk, and told us that he was ready to strike the Americans; that he wanted our assistance, and that he would certainly get our lands back which the Americans had taken from us. Listen! you told us at that time, to bring forward our families to this place, and we did so; and you promised to take care of them, and they should want for nothing, while the men would go and fight the enemy; that we need not trouble ourselves about the enemies’ garrisons; that we knew nothing about them, and that our father would attend to that part of the business. You also told your red children that you should take good care of your garrison here, which made our hearts glad. Listen! when we were last at the rapids, it is true, we gave you little assistance. It is hard to fight people who live like ground-hogs. Father, listen! Our fleet has gone out; we know they have fought; we have heard their great guns; but we know nothing of what has happened to our father (Commodore Barclay) with one arm.
“Our ships have gone one way, and we are much astonished to see our father tying up everything and preparing to run away the other, without letting his red children know what his intentions are. You always told us to remain here and take care of our lands; it made our hearts glad to hear that was your wish. Our great father, the king, is the head, and you represent him. You always told us you would never draw your foot off British ground; but now, father, we see that you are drawing back, and we are sorry to see our father doing so without seeing the enemy. We must compare your conduct to a
Unless the unscrupulous Proctor was utterly lost to shame, his cheek must have burned as he listened to the stinging reproof of the noble Indian Chief. Ever since the white men began their political struggles for power on the American continent, the unfortunate Indian has been their tool, and their scapegoat. Cheated, deceived by falsehoods and false friends, he was ever thrust forward as a sacrifice to the hatred of contending white men. Spanish, English and French were all alike equally guilty.
Proctor and Tecumseh fled from Malden at the approach of the Americans. They had been gone scarce an hour, when the head of the American column appeared playing Yankee Doodle.
Fernando Stevens was with Colonel Johnson’s riflemen, when, on the 29th of September, they reached Detroit, while Harrison was encamped at Sandwich. Informed that Proctor and Tecumseh were flying eastward toward the Moravian town on the river Thames, or La Tranche, as the French called the stream, eighty miles from Detroit, the American forces, about thirty-five hundred strong, on October 2, 1813, began pursuit. Johnson’s mounted riflemen led the van, while General Selby, a hero of King’s Mountain, followed with his Kentuckians, eager to avenge the slaughter of their friends at River Raisin. For three days the pursuit continued. At last, on the morning of the 5th of October, the army came up with Proctor. Fernando was with the advance guard when they came on a small party of Indians. The sharp crack of their rifles warned the armies to prepare for action, and both began to form.
The victory which followed properly belonged to Johnson and his mounted Kentuckians, though, as historians seldom know any one save the heads of armies, it has been accorded to Harrison.
Fernando galloped back to Colonel Johnson and informed him that the enemy was posted on a narrow strip of dry land, with the river Thames on the left, and a swamp on the right. Tecumseh, with about twelve hundred savages, occupied the extreme right on the eastern margin of the swamp. The infantry, eight hundred in number, were posted between the river and swamp, the men drawn up in open order. They waited for Harrison’s orders to attack. The general at first designed to attack with infantry; but, perceiving the position of the British regulars to be favorable for a charge, he turned to Johnson and asked:
“Will you undertake it?”
“I have accustomed my men to it from the first,” he answered.
Galloping to the head of his regiment, Johnson said:
“My brave Kentucky lads, to us is accorded the honor of winning this battle. Forward!” The whole cavalcade, more than a thousand strong, went thundering over the solid plain. In the whole range of modern warfare, perhaps there has never been a charge which, for reckless, romantic courage, could compare to this. The Kentuckians were armed only with long-barrelled rifles, hatchets and knives. None had sabres, so essential to cavalry; few had pistols, and there was not a carbine among them; but, as Johnson had said, they were accustomed to those charges on horseback, and could load and fire those long rifles with marvellous rapidity even while in the saddle. Their hatchets and knives were as deadly as the sabre. As they thundered down on the enemy, leaving the infantry and General Harrison a mile behind, Johnson discovered that the ground on which the British were drawn was too narrow for his whole regiment to charge abreast, so he divided his force, sending his brother Lieutenant-Colonel James Johnson with one division, against the regulars, while he with the other turned off into the swamp, and fell like a tornado upon the Indians under Tecumseh.
Fernando went with the division against the British; but he heard the splashing of mud and water, the cracking of rifles and wild shouts of combatants, as, through smoke, spray, mud and low bushes, the Kentuckians under Colonel Johnson charged the ambushed Indians. His own division continued galloping forward, until they were close on the British, who opened a heavy fire. The fire checked them; but Johnson shouted:
Ashamed of their momentary hesitation, the men shook their bridles and, with wild huzzahs, dashed right through the enemy, shooting right and left. Wheeling rapidly about, as soon as the British line was passed the Kentuckians poured in a destructive volley on their rear, and they fled, or threw down their guns and cried for quarter, which was granted. Proctor, with a part of his command, escaped, leaving his carriage and papers.
Fernando’s horse had been wounded in the shoulder, and as he dismounted to try to alleviate the suffering of the poor beast, he heard the conflict still raging on his right. Colonel Johnson with his half of the Kentuckians had struck Tecumseh and was routing his entire force. The Indians fought stubbornly until Tecumseh fell, and hearing his voice no longer they fled in confusion. A complete victory was gained before General Harrison reached the field.
Some historians of good authority state that Johnson shot Tecumseh with his pistol, just as his own horse fell dead under him;—that as the colonel’s horse was sinking under innumerable wounds, he discovered a large Indian, whose regal feathers denoted his rank, coming toward him with uplifted tomahawk. He drew a pistol and shot him through the heart. This has been denied. [Footnote: Seventeen years ago an aged man, who was in the conflict, informed the author that he saw Tecumseh fall, that he was shot through the head by a private soldier; “a big Kentuckian.”]
Fernando accompanied the army of General Harrison to Niagara to join the army of the centre; but Harrison, becoming offended at General Armstrong, secretary of war, resigned and quit the service. Fernando with his detached party, seven only of Captain Rose’s original company, joined the army under Gen. Boyd on November 10th, 1813, was with them on the next day, the 11th, when they fought the enemy five hours at Chrysler’s farm in Canada. The Americans were driven from the field with a loss of three hundred and thirty-nine.
The writer must pause a moment to mention some of the stirring incidents in which Fernando did not participate. On March 4th, 1813, Mr. Madison was inaugurated for his second term. Terrence, who chanced to be in Washington, greeted the president with: “Now Misther Prisident, we’ll whip the British sure.”
The Emperor of Russia having offered his services as mediator between the United States and Great Britain, the president, on March 8th, 1813, appointed commissioners to treat for peace. On the 10th of April, the British attacked Lewiston, Delaware, but after several days bombardment abandoned the siege. On April 27, the Americans under General Pike besieged upper York under General Sheaffe. The British, deserted by their Indian allies, who fled before the roar of artillery, took post with the garrison near the governor’s house and opened a fire of grape and round-shot on the invader. The battery was silenced and all thought the British had surrendered. General Pike was sitting on the stump of a tree talking with a captive British officer, when a tremor of the earth was felt, ’immediately followed by a tremendous explosion near by. The British, unable to hold the fort had fired a magazine of gunpowder on the edge of the lake. The effect was terrible. Fragments of timber and huge stones, of which the magazine walls were built, were scattered in every direction over a space of several hundred feet. When the smoke floated away, the scene was appalling. Fifty-two Americans lay dead, and one hundred and eighty others were wounded. Forty of the British were also slain. General Pike, two of his aides and the captive officer were mortally hurt. The dying general was taken to one of Chauncey’s vessels. His benumbed ears heard the shout of victory, when the British ensign was pulled down at York. Just before he died, the captured British flag was brought to him. He smiled and made a sign for it to be placed under his head. This was done, and he expired. Though Sheaffe and the larger part of his force escaped, the civil authorities and a larger part of the militia formally surrendered York. The American loss in killed and wounded was two hundred and eighty-six; the British lost one hundred and forty besides prisoners.
On May 27, General Scott and Commodore Perry captured Fort George at Niagara, and at the same time Sir George Prevost was repulsed at Sackett’s Harbor, New York, by General Brown. On June 6th, Generals Chandler and Winder were surprised and captured, though their troops retired. On the 23d, Colonel Boerstler with six hundred men was captured at Beaver Dam by a superior force of British.
While Perry was defeating the enemy on Lake Erie, and the Johnson brothers were defeating Proctor and slaying Tecumseh, the discontent which that redoubtable chief had stirred up in the South was beginning to have its effect among the Creeks. On August 30, 1813, they attacked Fort Mimms, which they set on fire and captured, massacring all but twenty out of four hundred men, women and children. The British agent at Pensacola, it is said, had offered five dollars each for scalps, and many of the savages carried the scalps of women and children there to claim their reward.
A cry for help went northward and the brave Tennesseeans flew to the relief of their neighbors. General Andrew Jackson, military commander of that region, was disabled by a wound received from a brilliant but brutal ruffian named Thomas H. Benton, who was afterward United States Senator from Missouri.
Late in September, Colonel John Coffee, at the head of five hundred cavalry, hurried to the Creek frontier. He rendezvoused at Fayetteville, where Jackson joined him early in October. On the 3d, Coffee attacked the Indians at Tallahatchee (near Jacksonville, Benton county, Alabama) and killed two hundred warriors;—not a warrior escaped. On the 8th of November, Jackson defeated the Indians with great slaughter at Talladega. Late in November, General Floyd with nine hundred Georgians and four hundred friendly Indians attacked the hostile savages at Autossee and drove them from the holy ground.
Weatherford, the Tecumseh of the South, was attacked, on the 23d of November, at Econachaca. Weatherford was defeated and escaped by leaping his horse from a precipice into the river and swimming to the other side.
On January 21, 1814, General Jackson was fiercely attacked by the Creeks at Emucfau on the west bank of the Tallapoosa River. Though he repulsed the Indians, he thought it best to retire from the field.
The Creeks were gathered in great numbers at the “Horse-shoe Bend” of the Tallapoosa. A strong breastwork, composed mostly of hickory logs, was built across the neck of the peninsula. The Indians had great stores of provisions and supplies at this place.
On the 27th of March, the Americans, led by Sam Houston, stormed this fort and routed the Indians, whom they shot down like wild beasts. The power and spirit of the Creeks was broken, and even the haughty Weatherford sued for peace. Save the trouble caused by the Spanish and British, the war in the South was practically ended.
Fernando, who was still with the northern army, had been shifted about so much, that he had received but one or two letters from home. He had participated in the affair at Black Rock, had seen Buffalo burned, and while lying in camp near the ruins, learned of the ravages of the enemy on the Delaware and Chesapeake bays. As yet the British, perhaps out of respect for the Peace Party, had done little damage to the coast of New England. Fernando often thought of the Maryland Coast, of Baltimore and Mariana, and wondered if she were there yet, in the great, white stone house on the hill.
One day, about March 1st, 1813, he received a letter from his mother. It was the first news from home for nearly a year, for the facilities for fast mails were not so good then as now.
“I have glorious news to tell you, Fernando.” she said, among other things. “Your friend Sukey is at home. His ship the Macedonia was captured by the frigate United States. He says if he can learn where you are, he is coming to you.”
There was a slip of paper in his mother’s letter on which was written in a well-known hand,
“Fernando, I am coming soon, for I am in the game now. SUKEY.”
Fernando answered the letter, saying that he was soon
to march under
General Wilkinson into Canada. A few days later, the Americans under
Wilkinson invaded Canada and, on March 30th, were repulsed at La Colle.
Fernando returned with others to the American side. He was near Oswego,
New York, when the British captured and destroyed it. He was assigned to
Brown’s command and was with it in the capture of Fort Erie, on July 3d.
Fort Erie was the chief impediment to the invasion of Canada.
Prompt measures were taken to secure the advantages gained by this victory; for it was known that General Riall, who was then the chief commander of the British on the frontier, was moving on Fort Erie. Early on the morning of the 3d, learning of the peril of the fort, he sent forward some royal Scots to reinforce the garrison. At Chippewa they heard of the fall of the fort, and Riall determined to attack the Americans next day. To meet this force, General Brown sent General Scott forward with Towsen’s artillery.
At noon on the 5th, Scott was joined by Porter with his volunteers and Indians. The British also were reinforced. Nearly half the day was spent by the two armies feeling of each other. Skirmishers were deployed and an occasional shot fired; but it was not until afternoon that they came together in an earnest struggle. The fight was long and desperate; but the Americans triumphed and defeated Riall and the veterans of Wellington. They lost one hundred and thirty-three killed and forty-six missing, while the Americans’ loss was sixty killed and two hundred and sixty-eight wounded and missing.
The English troops in that portion of Canada hastened to concentrate. On the 25th of July, General Brown, being informed that a detachment of the enemy had invaded American soil, hurried General Scott forward to attack the party at the mouth of the Niagara, hoping by this division to recall the foe. General Scott at the head of thirteen hundred men came suddenly across a superior force at Lundy’s Lane, under Generals Drummond and Riall. A desperate conflict ensued, during which General Brown arrived at dark, and, withdrawing Scott’s brigade, the fight was resumed. On a height at the head of the lane the enemy had posted a battery. General Brown asked Colonel Miller if he could take it.
“I will try,” he answered.
Amid a storm of grape, canister and leaden balls, the battery was taken and victory won. Several unsuccessful efforts were made by the foe to regain this elevation. The combat, which had begun before dark, raged until midnight. By this time, both Generals Brown and Scott were wounded and forced to retire from the field. The command now devolved on General Ripley. The enemy being repulsed, Ripley concluded to retire to camp, whence, after refreshing his men, he was directed to march by daylight and engage the foe; but, finding the enemy’s force had been much increased during the night, Ripley thought it advisable to retreat, and accordingly retired to Fort Erie, destroying the bridges as he went. The loss of the British at Lundy’s Lane was eighty-five killed, five hundred and fifty-five wounded and two hundred and fifty-four missing. The American loss in killed, wounded and missing was eight hundred and sixty.
General Ripley used every exertion to strengthen Fort Erie before the enemy should arrive.
At midnight during the battle of Lundy’s Lane, Fernando Stevens and about fifty sharpshooters became separated from the American army in the darkness, and at dawn, when the retreat began to Fort Erie, they found themselves cut off by the enemy. Three or four hundred British grenadiers were sent in pursuit of them, and they continued to retreat skirmishing along the way for three days, until they fell in with some New York militia hurrying to the southern part of the State. There was nothing better than to go with them. Fernando was chosen captain of the company, and recruits soon swelled his numbers to a hundred. On reaching New York he reported to Brown, for being a detached company, he had no colonel to whom he could report. Brown had received orders by this time to send all forces available to Washington, which was being threatened by General Boss, and Fernando’s riflemen were ordered South. The Americans under Ripley were besieged at Fort Erie on August 4th. On the 15th, they repulsed the enemy with a heavy loss (962 men). On the 11th of September, Commodore McDonough of the American navy captured the British fleet under Commodore Downie. A simultaneous attack on Plattsburgh by Provost miscarried by failure of the fleet and panic of the soldiers. On the 17th, a sortie was made from Fort Erie, and the British works were surprised and taken with a loss of one thousand to the enemy.
The New England coast, which had, in the early part of the war, been exempt from the ravages of the English, was now threatened. England came to the conclusion that the New Englanders were blinding them with professions of friendship, in order to preserve their own peace and prosperity. Despite their professed objections to the war, New England continually sent volunteers to the aid of the country’s cause. The British attacked various points on the New England coast. At Stonington, on August 9, 1814, they were repulsed. Though Boston was threatened, it was not bombarded.
Fernando Stevens with over one hundred men reached Philadelphia, where he found two regiments of regulars marching to Washington. He accompanied them. The second day’s march from Philadelphia, they were overtaken by two mounted men dressed in citizen’s clothes, who inquired for Captain Stevens. They proved to be Sukey and Terrence.
“I’ve been runnin’ all over creation looking for you,” Sukey declared. “How can you skip from one side o’ the earth to the other as easily as a flea can cross a hammock? I went within sixty miles of Fort Erie the day after the fight,—lost you;—heard you were in New York,—went after you,—lost you; heard you were in Philadelphia,—went there,—lost you and found Terrence. We supposed you were with the soldiers and came after you.”
Terrence had just returned from a cruise; and his ship Privateer Tom had been so badly damaged in a gale, that it would take weeks to repair her, so he came with Sukey.
Sukey had a terrible story to tell of captivity and service on the Macedonian, which we reserve for the next chapter.
The English navy was the pride of that great nation in 1812, as it is now. When war with the United States was discussed, the idea that America without a navy, and with but few if any trained naval officers could cope with England, caused the Briton to smile; but a great surprise was in store. The first American victories were on the high seas. Tradition, discipline, ships and training seemed all of no avail. While the English were carrying everything on land, where it was supposed they were weakest, they were losing everything on water, where thought to be strongest. Everybody was surprised. They supposed the first three or four American victories were accidents; but as success after success continued to follow the American arms at sea, they were dumfounded. England’s boasted navy had lost its power.
The first naval engagement of any consequence was on August 19, 1812. Captain Hull of the United States frigate Constitution captured an English frigate, The Guerriere, after a hard fought battle. The Guerriere had made herself very obnoxious in her way of challenging American vessels. In this engagement she lost seventy-nine killed and wounded, while the Constitution lost but thirteen. There were ten impressed Americans on The Guerriere. On the 7th of September, the United States frigate Essex captured the Alert in a fight of eight minutes. The American sloop-of-war Wasp, on the 18th of October, encountered the British sloop-of-war Frolic, a much larger and stronger ship. The fight was terrible, and only three officers and one seaman on the Frolic remained unhurt; almost a hundred were killed and wounded, while the Americans lost but ten. The Wasp did not long enjoy her triumph, however. On that same evening the British man-of-war Poicters, Captain Beresford, captured the Wasp and her prize.
The phrase “Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights,” borne on the banner at the masthead of the Essex, soon became the war-cry of the American seaman.
The 25th of October, 1812, one week after the victory and loss of the gallant Wasp, dawned bright and clear on the English frigate Macedonian sailing westward of Canary Islands. Little change had come to the Macedonian since Fernando Stevens had been transferred from her to the sloop. At this time there were but three impressed Americans on the Macedonian, Sukey, a negro sailor called Tawney and a man named Rogers.
Notwithstanding their difference in race and social standing, Sukey and Tawney were attached to each other. Both were Americans, and both loved the star-spangled banner.
It was a holy Sabbath morning, and every sailor, according to Captain Garden’s orders, was dressed in his best, when the cry of, “Sail ho!” rang out from the masthead. It was ascertained that the stranger was an American, and the ship was cleared for action. As the Macedonian bore down on the American—her men at their quarters—Sukey and Tawney, who happened to be stationed at the quarter-deck battery, respectfully accosted the captain, as he passed them in his rapid promenade, his spyglass under his arm.
“Say, look here,” said Sukey, “we are not Englishmen; we don’t want to be in the game. It’s a bitter thing to lift a hand against the flag of that country which harbors our parents. Please release us from this contest and let us remain neutral during the fight; I tell you, I don’t want to be in the game.”
When a ship of any nation is running into action, there is no time for argument, small time for justice, and not much for humanity. Snatching a pistol from the belt of a boarder standing by, the captain leveled it at the heads of the sailors, and commanded them instantly to their quarters, under penalty of being shot on the spot. So, side by side with their country’s foes, Sukey, Tawney and Rogers toiled at the guns, and fought out the fight to the last; with the exception of Rogers who was killed by one of his country’s balls.
The conflict was terrible. Sukey was stationed on the gun deck, abreast the mainmast. This part of the ship they called the slaughter-house, for men fell five and six at a time. An enemy nearly always directs his shot at this point in order to cut away the mast. The beams and carlines were spattered with blood and brains. About the hatchways it looked like a butcher’s stall; bits of human flesh were sticking in the ring-bolts. A pig that ran about the deck, though unharmed, was so covered with blood, that the sailors threw it overboard, swearing it would be rank cannibalism to eat it. A goat, kept on board for her milk, had her legs shot away, and was thrown into the sea.
The sailors who were killed were, according to the usual custom, ordered to be thrown overboard as soon as they fell; for the sight of so many corpses lying around might appall the survivors at the guns. A shot entering one of the portholes cut down two-thirds of a gun’s crew. The captain of the next gun, dropping his lock string, which he had just pulled, turned over the heap of bodies to see who they were; when, perceiving an old messmate, who had sailed with him in many cruises, he burst into tears, and, taking the corpse up in his arms and going with it to the side, he held it over the water a moment, gazed on the silent pale face and cried:
“Oh, God! Tom—Tom, has it come to this at last——”
“D—n your prayers! over with that thing! overboard with it and down to your gun!” roared a wounded lieutenant. The order was obeyed, and the heart-stricken sailor returned to his post.
At last, having lost her fore and maintopmasts, her mizzenmast having been shot away to the deck, and her foreyard lying in two pieces on her shattered forecastle, having been hulled in a hundred places with round shot, the Macedonian was reduced to the last extremity. Captain Garden ordered his signal quarter-master to strike the flag.
Never did Sukey hear a command with greater joy. Never was a sailor so happy at being defeated. When the order was given to strike the flag, one of Captain Garden’s officers, a man hated by the seamen for his tyranny, howled the most terrific remonstrances, and swore he would rather sink alongside than surrender. Had he been captain, probably he would have done so.
Sukey and Tawney were among the boat’s crew which rowed Captain Garden to the enemy. As, he touched the deck, Captain Garden saluted his captor, Captain Decatur, and offered him his sword; but it was courteously declined. The victor remembered the dinner parties he and Captain Garden had enjoyed in Norfolk, previous to the breaking out of hostilities, and while both were in command of the very frigates now crippled on the sea. The Macedonian had gone into Norfolk with despatches; while Decatur was in that port. Then they had laughed and joked over their wine, and a wager of a beaver hat was said to have been made between them upon the event of the hostile meeting of their ships.
This was their next meeting. Sukey and Tawney went home in the American frigate United States. With Sukey’s return to his native country, the reader’s interest in the naval operations perhaps ceases. Naval battles are the same, bloody and desperate, and the details of the fight with the Macedonian are the details of all others. After briefly noticing the principal victories and defeats on sea, we shall take up again the characters in our story.
On November 22d, the United States brig Vixen was captured by the English frigate Southampton, and both were subsequently shipwrecked on December 29th, the United States frigate Constitution, under Commodore Bainbridge, captured the British frigate Java, off the coast of Brazil. The American loss was 44 and the British 151. The American victories of the year of 1812 with such little loss produced much exultation in America and surprise and mortification in England. American seamen had been the greatest sufferers at the hands of the British, and they had long burned to avenge the insults of the English Navy. They fought for patriotism, glory and vengeance.
The year 1813 was noted for the continued success of the American Navy. On February 24th, the Hornet captured the British brig Peacock on the coast of South America. On June 1st, the British frigate Shannon captured the Chesapeake after a terrible battle, in which the Americans lost 133 and the British half as many. Captain Lawrence of the Chesapeake was mortally wounded, and his dying command, “Don’t give up the ship!” has been the motto for many worthy enterprises.
In August, Captain Porter, with the American frigate Essex, cruising in the Pacific Ocean, captured twelve armed British whalers. In the same month, the American sloop-of-war Argus, cruising in the English channel, captured twenty-one British merchantmen, but on the 13th was herself captured by the British man-of-war Pelican after a severe engagement. On the 3d of September, the American brig Enterprise captured the British Boxer off the coast of Maine. Perry’s victory on Lake Erie, which occurred on the 10th of this month, has already been noticed.
The year 1814 was not a line of unbroken success, though American victories were many and brilliant. On the 28th of March, the brilliant career of the United States frigate Essex, in the Pacific Ocean, was terminated by her capture by two British war vessels at Valparaiso. On April 21st, the United States sloop-of-war Frolic was captured by the British frigate Orpheus. On the 27th of the same month, the United States sloop-of-war Peacock captured the British brig-of-war Epervier with $118,000 in specie on board. On June 9th, the United States sloop-of-war Rattlesnake was captured by a British man-of-war. This reverse was followed by the loss of the United States sloop Syren on the 12th. On the 28th, the American sloop Wasp captured the British sloop Reindeer, in the British channel. On the 1st of September, the Wasp captured the British sloop Avon, and after taking three other prizes, this remarkably successful vessel mysteriously disappeared. Her fate was never known, though it is supposed she was lost at sea.
On January 15, 1815, the United States frigate President was captured by four English vessels. On the 28th of February, although peace was declared, the United States frigate Constitution captured two British vessels of war, off the island of Madeira. In March, the United States frigate Hornet captured the British brig Penguin, off the coast of Brazil.
The last hostile act at sea took place in the Straits of Sunda, in the East Indies, where the United States brig-of-war Peacock captured the Nautilus, a British sloop-of-war. The three American vessels at sea when the war closed each came home crowned with laurels. The part taken by the American privateers during the war was considerable and a detailed history of them would fill a volume larger than this. During the war there were I,750 British vessels captured, against a loss of I,683 American ships. The spirit and energy of the American seamen, under all their embarrassments, gave an unmistakable indication of the future greatness of the power of the United States Navy.
On the first night after Sukey and Terrence joined Fernando, the three sat about the bivouac fire, while all save the sentries slept, talking over the past which, to Fernando, seemed like a troubled dream.
“Did either of you ever meet Captain Snipes?” asked Fernando.
“Bad luck to him, I did not,” said Terrence. “It’s bad it would have fared with the spalpeen if I had.”
At mention of Captain Snipes, there came an expression over Sukey’s face which is indescribable. His face grew pale, and his brow contracted, his teeth set, and his eyes seemed to have the glitter of steel, while he shrugged his shoulders, as if he again felt the cat-o’-nine-tails about them.
“Did he never come aboard the Macedonian again?” asked Fernando.
“Did you hear of him?”
“Where was he?”
“He was transferred to the Xenophon.”
“The Xenophon? was not Lieutenant Matson in command of that vessel?”
“Was he not promoted?”
“No; it seems his affair with you got to England.”
“Just in time to spoil a nate little promotion, too,” put in Terrence. “I heard all about it from the captain of the merchantman I captured. He told me when we were playing poker one night.”
Fernando looked sadly into the smouldering bivouac and heaved a sigh. Almost five years had elapsed since he had seen Morgianna, and he had not heard a word from her since he left her in the great stone house on the hill that night,—she laughing at his misery.
After a long silence Fernando asked:
“Is he married?”
“Who?” asked Sukey.
“Faith, the captain’s absent minded,” put in Terrence.
“I mean Lieutenant Matson.”
“Not as I know of.”
“Did you see him after we left Mariana?”
“Only six days before we were captured by Decatur. We touched at the Canary Islands, and the Xenophon was there. He came aboard our vessel.”
“Did he recognize you?”
“No,” Sukey answered. “Had he known me he wouldn’t a-talked with a common sailor.”
“Was he married then?”
“No; I heard him tell Captain Garden that he was still single.”
Fernando heaved another sigh and asked:
“Did he say—did he say anything about her?”
Fernando heaved another sigh and asked:
“Did he say—did he say anything about her?’7
The conversation was not interesting to Terrence and he had gone to another part of the camp, to engage in a game of cards with a sentry.
“Morgianna,” Fernando said.
“Morgianna? no—she is the girl at Mariana, isn’t she?”
“I didn’t hear him mention her name.”
“They are not married yet?”
“Perhaps I was mistaken after all,” said Fernando thoughtfully. “May be she don’t care for him.”
Then Fernando sighed again and gazed into the smouldering fire. After several minutes more, he said:
“Sukey, she must be in love with him.”
“I thought so.”
Fernando sighed and remarked:
“She may have married some one else, though.”
“No, she ain’t.”
“Have you heard of her?”
“I saw her!” Sukey declared.
“When I was in Baltimore last winter.”
“Did you talk with her, Sukey?”
“Then how did you know she was not married?”
“When I was in Baltimore last winter.”
“Did you talk with her, Sukey?”
“Then how did you know she was not married?”
“I was in a store and overheard two women who knew her gossiping. One asked the other if Morgianna Lane was married yet. One said:
“‘I thought she would marry the English lieutenant.’
“The other said:
“‘No, not yet. I suppose they are waiting till the war is over.’
“‘Has she no other lover?’ asked the other. Then the other woman said she believed not, at least none ever came to see her.”
Fernando was quite sure she must have lovers by the score. Such a glorious woman as Morgianna could not but have an abundance to choose from.
“You saw Morgianna, Sukey, how did she look?”
“Just as when we left. Not a day older.”
“You knew her at sight?”
“Of course; but she didn’t know me. I suspect I was a hard-looking case then; for I had just come from the ship and had on my English pea-jacket, and my linen was not the cleanest.”
Fernando sat silent for such a long time, that Sukey, who was tired, nodded awhile in silence, then, rolling up in his blanket, lay down under a tree and slept. Fernando still sat gazing into the fire and saying to himself:
“Oh, if it could have been, if it could have been!”
A young woman does a rash thing when she rejects such a warm, manly heart as that of Fernando Stevens. Not all men are capable of such unselfish devotion as his, and Morgianna little dreamed how much she was casting aside.
He was still gazing into the smouldering fire, when Terrence, who had won all the money from the soldier with whom he was playing cards, came to him and said:
“Captain, are ye goin’ to spend the night gazing into the fire?”
“No, Terrence; I am not sleepy; but I will lie down.”
“Captain, do ye remember the little girl at Mariana five years ago, the one yersilf and the Englishman were about to break heads over?”
“You mean Morgianna Lane, Terrence?”
“To be sure I do. I saw the swate craythur not two months since.” Fernando, who was anything but sleepy, asked:
“Where did you see her, Terrence?”
“In Baltimore. She is prettier than whin you used to stroll over the beach in the moonlight with her.”
“Is she married?”
“Divil a bit. I talked with her, and, d’ye belave me, almost the first question she asked me was about yersilf. Aye, Fernando, it was a grand story I told her about ye making a hero of yersilf. I told her how ye defeated Tecumseh and killed the thief with yer own hand, and how ye conquered at Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane.”
Fernando’s heart gave a tremendous bound. Had she really asked about him? Then she had not forgotten him in five long years. Could this be true? Terrence had not the strictest regard for truth, and he might be only telling this out of mischief.
“Terrence, are you telling me the truth?” he asked.
“Ivery blissid word of it is the gospel truth, me frind,” Terrence answered. “The little girl still lives at the village beyant Baltimore, and if ye want her, ye kin win her.”
“Terrence, you are trifling with me; Morgianna cares nothing for me.”
“Don’t ye belave it. If she didn’t, why did she ask about ye the very first chance she had? Me boy, whin a girl remembers a fellow after five years, it’s some sign. Now if ye want that blushin’ damsel, lave it all to me.”
“Terrence, let us go to sleep, we have a hard march before us to-morrow.”
“I take it at yer word, captain.”
In less than ten minutes the light-hearted Irishman was buried in slumber.
THE CRUISER’S THREAT.
Terrence and Sukey both volunteered to accompany Fernando’s detached riflemen in the vigorous campaign which was before them. Fernando’s riflemen now numbered one hundred and sixty-two, composed mostly of frontiersmen, all dead shots. Sukey declared that he was in the game and would kill a British officer for every stripe Captain Snipes had caused to be laid on his shoulders.
“There were twelve blows, nine stripes each. Nine times twelve are one hundred and eight.”
“And have ye got the job all before ye, Sukey?” asked Terrence.
“I’ve commenced. Eight have been blotted out. Only a hundred remains,” Sukey answered solemnly.
No one asked when the eight had been blotted out, but Fernando knew he must have done it while the Macedonian was fighting the American frigate. Sailors, driven to desperation, frequently take advantage of such occasions to wreak vengeance on cruel officers. The boatswain’s mate who had flogged Sukey was found dead on the gun deck at the close of the fight.
The American forces were hurried forward to Washington, where everything was in the wildest confusion. The contemptible Peace Party had done all by way of ridicule and argument to keep off the war, and were now doing all in their power to prevent its prosecution. General Winder and Commodore Barney were in command of the land and naval forces of the United States, for the defence of Washington. In vain Winder had called on the government for more troops and supplies.
When Fernando arrived at Washington, Barney had already blown up his flotilla at Pig Point, and with his soldiers and marines joined General Winder.
General Ross, the commander of the British land forces and one of the most active of Wellington’s officers, on finding the American flotilla a smoking ruin, marched to upper Marlborough with his troops, where a road led directly to Washington City, leaving Cockburn in charge of the British flotilla. Winder had but three thousand men, most of them undisciplined, to oppose this force; and he prudently retreated toward Washington followed by Ross, who, on the 23d of August, was joined by Cockburn and his seamen.
Uncertain whether Washington City or Fort Washington was the destination of the enemy, Winder left a force at Bladensburg about four miles from the capitol, and with other troops watched the highways leading in other directions, while he hastened to the city to inform the president that the enemy were camped in ten miles of the capitol.
Neither President Madison nor his cabinet slept that night. Fernando and his riflemen were sent to Bladensburg at midnight, and on the morning of August 24, 1814, a small scouting party sent down the road came back reporting that the British army was on the advance.
Fernando with his riflemen went to meet the enemy and hold them in check as long as possible. About ten o’clock, they came in sight of the advance of the enemy. About two hundred redcoats were led by an officer on horseback.
Sukey saw that officer, and he also saw an old tree about a hundred yards nearer the enemy and twenty paces to the left of the road. From it, one would be in long rifle range of the British.
“Fernando, I want to go there,” said Sukey, hugging his long rifle as if it were his dearest friend.
He went with arms trailed, stooping as he ran, to keep the enemy from seeing him, and gained the tree, which stood on an eminence that overlooked the narrow valley below. The British saw the Americans and halted. The officer was riding up and down the line giving directions, wholly unconscious of the rifle behind the old tree.
Suddenly a little puff of smoke curled up from where Sukey was crouched, and the crack of a rifle rang out. The officer in his gay uniform dropped his sword and fell from his saddle, while Sukey took a small day book from his pocket and wrote “nine” in it.
Fernando’s company fell back to Bladensburg, where he deployed them so as to cover the Americans’ line, and awaited the approach of the enemy.
It was afternoon before they advanced, and the skirmishers for ten minutes held them in check, then, as they fell back to the main line, Fernando saw Sukey write “twelve” in his book. The fight began in earnest just below Bladensburg in an old field. The roar of cannon and rattling crash of musketry filled the air. General Winder, who had been in Washington the night before, returned just before the battle began. The militia broke and fled in confusion; and the brave Barney, with Captain Stevens’ riflemen, sustained the brunt of the battle, until Barney was severely wounded, when Winder, seeing no hope of winning a victory, ordered a retreat. The troops remaining fell back toward Montgomery Courthouse, in Maryland, leaving the battlefield in possession of the invaders. The battle had lasted more than four hours, and the victory was won at fearful cost, for more than five hundred Britons were dead or wounded on the field, among them several officers of distinction, Sukey had added several numbers in his book.
The president and his secretaries of war and state had come to witness the conflict and give assistance if possible. When the day was lost, they mounted swift horses and dashed back to the city. Terrence, who had captured the steed of a British officer, overtook the president’s advance party. Whipping his horse alongside the president, he cried:
“Misther Madison, wasn’t that as illegant a knock down as iver a man saw in all his life? I enjoy such.”
“How are we to save Washington without an army?” cried the president, whose mind was wholly occupied with the safety of the capital.
To this, Terrence responded with his stereotyped:
“Lave it all to me.”
Mrs. Madison, at the White House, had already been apprised of danger, by a messenger sent by her husband on the flight of the militia. Her carriage was at the door ready for flight, and she had already sent away to a place of safety silver plate and other valuables. While waiting anxiously for her husband, she cut out of the frame for preservation a full length portrait of Washington, by Stuart. At this moment, her husband’s messengers, Mr. Jacob Barker and another man, entered the house. Mr. Barker cried:
“Fly, Mrs. Madison, the day is lost, and the British are coming!”
“Where is my husband?” she asked.
“Safe, and he will join you beyond the Potomac.”
Pointing to Washington’s picture on the floor, she cried:
“Save that picture! save or destroy it, but do not let it fall into the hands of the British!”
Then, snatching up the precious parchment on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and which contained the names of the fifty-six signers of that document, she entered the carriage with her sister and two others, and the four were driven away to a place of safety beyond the Potomac. The picture was saved, and it now adorns one of the reception rooms in the White House.
The British entered Washington at sunset, August 24, 1814, and at once began to plunder, burn and destroy. The capitol, president’s house, treasury buildings, arsenal and barracks were burned, and of the public buildings only the patent office was saved. Some private houses were plundered and others were burned. While these buildings were blazing in the city, the public vessels and other government property at the navy yard were in flames, for Commodore Tingey, who was in command there, had been ordered to destroy this property in case it was likely to fall into the hands of the invaders. Two millions of dollars’ worth of public property were destroyed on that night.
On the 27th of August, three days later, Alexandria was plundered of her public stores by the British. Having taken an enormous amount as ransom for the city, the British sailed down the Potomac, annoyed part of the way by the guns from the American forts.
Fernando Stevens’ riflemen, after the battle of Bladensburg, hastened toward Baltimore, which they knew to be also threatened. Here they found the people energetically making every possible effort to defend the city. Fort McHenry, which commanded the harbor, was garrisoned by about a thousand men, under Major Armistead, and was supported by redoubts. Fernando’s riflemen were assigned to General Stricker.
On September 11, 1814, the enemy appeared off Patapsco Bay, and before sunrise on the 12th had landed, nine thousand strong, at North Point, twelve miles from Baltimore. When news came that the British were landing on North Point, General Smith, who had about nine thousand men under his command, sent General Stricker with more than three thousand of them, to watch the enemy, and act as circumstances might require.
Fernando Stevens’ riflemen accompanied Stricker, and were sent forward down a rocky ravine, where they might watch the enemy. Fernando left his men in the deepest hollow while he, with only ten or twelve, crept forward behind some large stones which lay at the roadside. About ten paces to the right of Fernando was Sukey, with his formidable rifle resting in the hollow of his left arm. Soon the head of the long column could be seen advancing up the broad thoroughfare. Fernando saw two gayly-dressed officers riding at the head. He afterward learned that they were Generals Ross and Cockburn.
“Say, Fernando,” said Sukey, “those fellows are officers, ain’t they?”
“Must be generals by the clothes they wear?”
Ross was riding gayly along by the side of Cockburn, laughing and jesting about making Baltimore his winter quarters, when on their left there suddenly rang out the sharp crack of a rifle, while a little puff of smoke curled up from the great black rock almost two hundred paces distant.
“Oh!” groaned the general, and jerking his rein, until his horse reared in the air, his chin fell on his chest, and he began to sink from the saddle. Cockburn caught him and called for assistance. They hurried him back to the boats, where he might have surgical aid; but he died before the boats were reached.
Fernando Stevens heard the sharp report on his right, as Ross fell, and, turning his eyes in that direction, saw the smoke slowly curling up from the muzzle of Sukey’s rifle.
“Say, Fernando, I ought to count three or four for that one, shouldn’t I?” Sukey coolly asked. “He was a big one.” [Footnote: The reader will pardon this slight deviation from history. The real slayers of General Ross were two Baltimore mechanics, Wells and McComas, both of whom fell in the conflict on the same day, and to whose memory a monument has been erected by the citizens of Baltimore.]
The British were thrown into momentary confusion by the sudden death of General Ross; but Colonel Brooke rallied them, and Fernando’s riflemen fell back until they joined General Stricker’s men.
The British came on and a severe fight, which lasted two hours, ensued, when Stricker ordered a retreat to his reserve corps. There he reformed a brigade and fell back toward the city, as far as Worthington’s Mill, where they were joined by General Winder and some fresh troops.
Fernando witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry during that terrible night, when Mr. Francis S. Key, a prisoner on board an English vessel, composed the song which immortalized him,—“The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Not only Baltimore, but all the Chesapeake and coast was threatened by the British. Cruisers by the score were threatening almost every seaport town.
The day after the unsuccessful bombardment of Fort McHenry, General Smith sent for Fernando Stevens, and when he was in the general’s head quarters, that officer said:
“Captain Stevens, I would like to have you do a little detached duty.”
“General, I am willing to do whatever you wish. You can command me at your pleasure.”
“There is a cruiser on the coast threatening a little town where some government stores have been placed for safety. Will you undertake the defence of the town?”
“Certainly; I will do the best I can; but success will depend on my means.”
“How many men have you?”
“One hundred and fifty.”
“I will send fifty marines with you.”
“There are some nine-pounders and one long thirty-two
at the village.
Muster your men, hasten there at once, and do the best you can.”
“But, general, you have not yet told me the name of the village.”
“What?” gasped Fernando, starting to his feet. “Did you say Mariana. Perhaps I misunderstood you."’
“No; I mean Mariana. Captain Lane, an old privateer officer of the Revolution, is there. He has organized a company of Marylanders on the peninsula on which Mariana is situated, and will be able to help you some. You will find an abundance of ammunition for your artillery.”
Fernando left the general’s quarters with his heart beating in a way which he could not explain. Terrence had just returned to the company. Fernando ordered his men to be ready to march at dark, and was hastening across the street to a tavern for his supper, when he was suddenly accosted by a familiar voice with:
“Golly! massa Stevens, am dat you?”
“Job, where have you come from?”
“Everywhar, Massa. I done been rovin’ de worl’ over huntin’ for de massa I belong to when I war taken by de Britishers; but I can’t find him. Whar ye gwine?”
Fernando explained, and the negro said:
“Golly! ye goin’ dar?”
“De ship what am goin’ ter bombard dat town am de Xenophon.”
“Xenophon!” cried Fernando; “surely Providence must be in this.”
Job volunteered at once to accompany the riflemen, and, having some knowledge of gunnery, his services were very acceptable.
At dusk, with competent guides, Fernando set out for the village.
* * * * *
Five years had been added to the weight with which time was crushing Captain Lane; but his spirit was still as undaunted as ever, and when he found the town threatened by a British cruiser, he hastily organized the people into militia companies, and began throwing up a line of earthworks, which extended from his own house to the lowest extremity of the village.
The plan of the breastwork was well laid and executed; but the artillery was poorly mounted and they were sadly in need of experienced gunners.
“Father, don’t exert yourself until you are sick!” said Morgianna, when her father came home one evening exhausted. “Surely, if the British come, they will not harm us.”
“My child, the plunderers have sacked other towns and insulted the inhabitants, and why not ours?”
“But no ship is in sight.”
“No; yet one has been hovering about the coast and Tris Penrose, who was far out in his fishing smack to reconnoitre, says it is the Xenophon.”
“The Xenophon!” and the pretty face grew pale. She remembered that that vessel, five years before, had paid the village a friendly visit. Captain Lane was watching her closely. She knew it and guessed the reason. After a moment’s silence, she asked:
“Father, isn’t Lieutenant Matson on the Xenophon?”
“I suppose he is.”
“Surely he is your friend.”
“In war there are no friends among the enemy, child, and no enemy among friends. We are simply Americans or British.”
“Yet, father, there are personal ties stronger than loyalty to nation or political party.”
The old man heard her argument with evident anxiety. He loved his little sea-waif as ardently as ever father loved a child, and for five years he fancied and feared she loved the lieutenant of the Xenophon.
“True, child, you speak the truth, yet my heart tells me that we cannot trust to friendship now, seeing that this quarrel has grown so bitter.” He was sorry to say this, for he felt that every word he uttered was like a dagger at the heart of Morgianna. After a painful silence, the old, white-haired seaman added, “Forgive me, Morgianna; but I am an old man, and I may not look at things as you do. I love my country and her flag. I have seen our poor sailors too often enslaved to be a friend to any Englishman while the war lasts.”
“What do you mean, father?”
“You love him, Morgianna. I felt it, I knew it all along, but I couldn’t help it. I knew I ought to do something, but, child, I didn’t know what to do. If you had had a mother she could have advised you, but I didn’t.”
“Father, you talk so strangely; what do you mean?”
“I knew all along, my child, that you loved him; but Lieutenant Matson is a bad one, even if he is the son of my old friend. I could see the devil glinting in his eyes, and the mock of his smile, when he met the young Ohioan here five years ago. He’s a bad man accompanied with foul weather wherever he goes, and I know it just so long as I know the cat’s paw, the white creeping mist, like a dirty thing which makes me cry out to my crew, ‘All hands to reef! Quick! All hands to reef!’” The old man was silent for a moment, smoking his pipe, while his eyes were on the floor. Had he looked up, he would have seen a decidedly mischievous look in the face of Morgianna, which certainly did not indicate that she was seriously affected. After a few moments, without looking up, the old man with a sigh continued:
“Ah, my little maid, if you could only have listened a bit to the noble Ohioan;—if it could have been him instead of Matson, love and patriotism could have gone hand in hand. The night we went to the cliff, I thought you did like him; but it was not to be. ’Tis dreadful! dreadful! why did God make woman so? Poor Fernando; there was good love going a-begging and getting nothing for it but a frown and a hard word; while—” he did not finish the sentence, for a pair of white arms were put around his neck, and a voice as sweet as the rippling music of the hillside brook said:
“Never fret yourself, father, for Morgianna loves you first of all and best of all,” and she slipped on his knee and kissed away the anxious cloud gathering on his brow. The old man was quite overcome by this caress, and before he could make any answer there came a heavy tread on the piazza, a heavy knock, and a moment later a servant announced, Tris Penrose and John Burrel. They were admitted and Penrose, who had made another reconnoisance that afternoon in his fishing yacht, said:
“Aw, captain, I be just returned, and having somewhat of importance to impart I came to tell you.”
Captain Lane asked the Cornish fisherman to be seated and asked:
“What have you seen, Tris?”
“You see, captain, it be like this. I be out at sea beyond the bay, and I see a great ship beating up in the bay against wind and tide, and I watch her for a long time as she do go first on one tack and then on the other, until I make sure she be heading for Mariana, and I hasten to tell, with all sail.”
Burrel explained that from the farthest point of Duck Island the vessel had been sighted, and that there was no longer any question of her destination. Captain Lane rose to go down to the village, where the greatest excitement prevailed. Turning to Morgianna, he asked:
“Will you be afraid to remain here, my gem o’ the sea?”
The captain went and quieted the people. A strong breeze was blowing from the land, and he knew full well that the Xenophon could not possibly come near enough to harm them for several hours. He gave some directions concerning the strengthening of the fort, and went home and retired to bed.
Next morning the ship-of-war, the Xenophon was reported lying without the harbor, and at noon, being unable, owing to contrary winds, to enter the harbor, they saw her long-boats landing troops on the northern point of land. Soldiers to the number of two hundred were landed on the point of land, which, two miles north of Duck Island, projected far out into the sea and was called O’Connor’s Point. Mariana was situated on a peninsula from half a mile to two miles wide and the troops hurried to the narrowest neck of this peninsula where they halted and proceeded to throw up light earthworks, so as to completely cut off all retreat of the inhabitants.
That evening some officers and a marine guard with a white flag were seen coming down the great road leading from the neck of the peninsula to the mainland and thence to Baltimore. Many of the inhabitants recognized Lieutenant Matson before he came to the fort. They were halted and asked what they wanted.
Lieutenant Matson stated that it was his wish to see Captain Lane.
Mounting the earthworks, Captain Lane asked:
“Do you come in peace or in war?”
“Then, as the son of an old friend, you are welcome. You can send back your guard and flag of truce, for I am sufficient surety for your safety.”
The lieutenant told his guard to retire, while he went over the parapet and ascended the hill to the great white house. Lieutenant Matson was very grave and silent, when they reached the house, which was lighted, for it was now growing dark. Captain Lane asked his visitor to be seated and said:
“Now, Lieutenant Matson, you may proceed with your business.”
A pair of soft, dark eyes were fixed on them from a door which was slightly ajar, and even the darkness seemed lighter from the glow of golden hair. The lieutenant’s back was toward this room, and he did not see the beautiful, anxious face and roguish eyes. Lieutenant Matson, after a brief silence, said:
“Captain Lane, I am come on a matter of business in which friendship and regard are mingled. Believe me that, had it not been for my great esteem for yourself and Morgianna, I should have sent an under officer with my message instead of bringing it myself.”
Captain Lane bowed and hoped that Lieutenant Matson would not allow friendship to stand in the way of duty. Lieutenant Matson continued:
“First, I have come, captain, to demand of you the surrender of this post,—that is, of all the government stores in it, assuring you that private property shall not be molested, and the men in arms shall be treated as prisoners of war.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, the old sea captain answered:
“I refuse to comply with your demand.”
“Surely, Captain Lane, you must know that you cannot hope to resist the Xenophon. Her heavy guns will soon batter down your walls and destroy your houses.”
“When that is done, it will be time enough to think of surrendering.”
“Surely you do not know that Washington is burned and Baltimore surrounded. All night long the fleet bombarded the town.”
“Yes, we could hear the roar of cannon even here.”
“Well, you must ultimately surrender.”
Lieutenant Matson was greatly distressed by the stubbornness of Captain Lane. He reminded him of the helpless women and children in the town, and asked him, for their sakes, to consider the crime of resisting; but it was all in vain. Captain Lane had been chosen by the people to defend them, and he swore he was no Hull to yield at the sight of an enemy.
“No, sir; when our guns are dismounted, our walls battered down, our houses burned, and there is not a man able to hold a lanyard, then it is time to think of surrendering.”
“Very well, Captain, if such is your resolution, I must leave you; but permit me to conduct Miss Morgianna to a place of safety. She would be safe on board the Xenophon and I offer her——”
“What!” interrupted Captain Lane, his eyes flashing fire. “Lieutenant Matson, do you wish to insult me?”
“No, Captain Lane, I merely wish to secure the safety of Morgianna.”
“Morgianna! Morgianna!” called the old man, starting to his feet and pacing the floor anxiously.
“Here, father!” and, clothed in spotless white, looking like some celestial being just reached this earth, Morgianna entered the room. “What do you want, father?” she asked, paying no heed to the lieutenant, who had risen to his feet with a most gracious smile and bow.
“Morgianna, Lieutenant Matson announces that the English frigate Xenophon is coming to destroy our town and kill our people. He offers you a place on board that vessel where he says you will be safe. Do you accept it?”
[Illustration: “MY FATHER WILL PROTECT ME; I WANT NO OTHER PROTECTION.”]
“No!” she answered, stamping one little slippered foot on the floor. Then going to the captain’s side, she laid her head on his shoulder and said:
“My father will protect me; I want no other protection.”
“Morgianna,” began the baffled lieutenant, “I would like a word with you in private—”
“Lieutenant Matson, I don’t care to hear you—I will not listen to you. As my father’s friend, I once did tolerate you; but now, as my country’s enemy, I have no forbearance with you. Begone!” and her white, jeweled hand pointed to the door.
The Briton’s face flushed crimson, as he retorted:
“Morgianna, you may regret—”
“Lieutenant Matson!” interrupted the captain fiercely. “Not another word, lest I forget your father was my mate. Begone!”
With an oath, Matson left the town and returned to his men on the neck of the peninsula. When he was gone, Captain Lane turned to his daughter and was surprised to see a look of contempt instead of the grief he had expected. That one glance convinced him that he had been mistaken, and that she did not love the Englishman after all.
“Father, that man’s true spirit was revealed to-night. Even though he is your old friend’s son, he is a villain.”
Next day some of the Marylanders had a skirmish with the British on the neck of land, and one of the villagers was wounded. The Xenophon still hovered near the mouth of the narrow harbor and only waited a favorable wind to enter the bay, and commence the siege which could have but one result.
Captain Lane strove hard to be cheerful; but his heart was heavier than lead. Again night came, with the Xenophon anchored off Mud Island. The night was dark, and the wind from shore strong, so that Captain Lane knew she could not enter the harbor.
He was sitting at his fireside, when suddenly from the narrow inlet south of the peninsula there rang out a volley of musketry followed by wild cries and cheers. The volley was followed by heavy firing, and Captain Lane, donning his hat, snatched his sword and ran down to the works, where the drum was beating, and the Marylanders were seizing muskets and falling into line.
“What is it? whom have they attacked?” was the general query asked by all. The pickets were called in and the only sentries were the chain guards just outside the parapet. Suddenly the sound of footsteps came from the darkness, and the sentries knew that two or three men were running toward them. Zeb Cole, a large, powerful Marylander, finding one of them coming directly at him, dropped his musket and, seizing the fellow’s throat, hurled him to the ground.
“Halt! ye wanderin’ Israelite. Stop an’ tell me who you are?”
“Oh, let go me, massa, lem me up!” pleaded the captive, struggling to his feet. “I ain’t no Britisher! dar ain’t no Angler Saxun blood in dese veins. I is a Yankee nigger, massa, bet I am.”
Another man who had come up at a run cried in language in which the Hibernian was plainly distinguishable:
“Hould hard, ye haythin! The redcoats are afther us!”
“Who be ye?” demanded Zeb.
“The advance guard of two hundred Americans comin’ to help ye whip the Britisher. Jist as we landed, afther crossing the mouth of the creek, the dirthy spalpeens fired on us; but we drove thim back, and here come our boys at double quick.”
Terrence was correct, for Fernando and his riflemen having cut their way through the British, hurried into the fort. Captain Lane was amazed to find their friends led by the young Ohioan, whom he had entertained at his house five years before.
“Did you lose any of your men in the skirmish?” asked Captain Lane.
“Two were wounded, none killed or missing. Has the Xenophon commenced the bombardment yet?”
“No; but she will as soon as the wind shifts to bring her in.”
“How many men have you capable of bearing arms, Captain Lane?” asked Fernando.
“Almost two hundred.”
“I have two hundred more, we will die together or beat off the ship.”
“Did General Winder send you to defend the town?”
“Then I will serve under you. Captain Stevens.”
Fernando tried to get the old captain to assume command; but he said he was too old; that he would gladly advise him and serve with him and under him; but he did not want the responsibility of the command. Then, all being quiet, Captain Lane went to his house to sleep and rest.
“He is gone,” said Fernando when left alone near the big gun; “gone and not a word said about Morgianna. What will she say, what will she think, when she knows it is I who came to defend her?”
Fernando sighed and was very unhappy.
THE SAVING SHOT.
Little or nothing could be done by Captain Stevens that night. His men were exhausted, and threw themselves down anywhere and everywhere. The proprietor of the tavern took Fernando, Sukey, Terrence and Lieutenant Willard of the marines to his house, where they were furnished beds and slept soundly.
The morning of September 14, 1814, came. Fernando, at his request, was awakened early, and with Lieutenant Willard went out to examine the fort and artillery. It was scarcely daylight when they mounted the works and gazed off the bay. They could not see as far as Duck and Mud Islands, and sat down upon the gun carriages to await the rising of the sun.
A hundred stalwart Marylanders came from their houses with axes, picks and shovels, ready to resume work on the redoubt.
“Lieutenant Willard.” said Fernando, “your judgment is perhaps better than mine. Will you give these men direction in regard to the works?”
Lieutenant Willard mounted the earthworks and walked along the entire line, closely inspecting them and directing the improvement of what was already quite a formidable fortification.
The guns were next examined and changed so as to more completely sweep the bay. While the lieutenant was doing this, Fernando, with three or four fishermen went down to the water with a glass to take a look for the Xenophon. She could be seen still anchored off Mud Island.
“The vind be strong off shore,” said Tris Penrose the Cornish fisherman. “Aw, she cannot sail in the teeth o’ it.”
“How far is it to Mud Island?” asked Fernando.
“It be about five mile,” the fisherman answered.
“I am going out to that headland!” he said pointing to the rocky promontory.
“It be dangerous, Capen; the ship’s big guns, they reach to the headland;” but Fernando insisted on being rowed to the headland, and four fishermen, including Tris Penrose, took him to it in a boat. The memories this early morning visit awoke in his breast are indescribable. Years seemed to have been rolled back, and he was once more with Morgianna, within the pale of hope. Ascending the promontory, he saw the Xenophon lying at anchor not over three or four miles away. Two boats loaded down with marines put off from the ship and rowed to the point of land half a mile away. There they landed, formed, and marched to reinforce Matson on the neck of the peninsula. Three hundred men and two small cannon were now on land.
Fernando went back, convinced that for some hours at least the attack would be delayed. Lieutenant Willard was working with a will to strengthen the redoubt. Bomb-proof apartments were made for the women and children. They were still uncertain of the fate of Baltimore, and knew that the whole coast was threatened by the British fleet.
While sitting at breakfast, Fernando received a note from Captain Lane informing him that a sudden attack of rheumatism prevented him from leaving his bed, and asked him to call at the house if he wished to consult him. Never in his life was Fernando more glad to receive a summons, and never did he so dread answering it.
“I am foolish!” he thought. “She cares nothing for me. She has told me as much, and she cannot have changed her mind. I will go, but as the commandant and not as a supplicant—or lover.”
Fernando was in the uniform of a captain of infantry of 1812, the handsomest uniform ever adopted by the American army. His dark blue coat, buttoned to his chin, his sash, his belt and gilt sword, his chapeau-bras with flowing plume, set off his manly form.
Fernando, as he ascended the path to the house, did not dream that he was heroic or fine-looking.
When he reached the house, he paused a moment on the piazza, just as he had on that evening five years before, to school his rebellious heart. To his knock a servant answered, and he was hurried up to the room of Captain Lane. At every corner he expected Morgianna; but she did not appear. Perhaps she was with her father; but no, the captain was alone.
“It’s too bad, Captain Stevens,” the old sea-dog declared. “Here I am with this infernal rheumatism holding me down like an anchor, when we are threatened with a squall.”
“Don’t trouble yourself, captain,” said Fernando. “I fancy there are young men enough to fight our battles.”
“But one likes to have a hand in such affairs, you know.”
“Certainly, but don’t worry yourself. The wind is still off shore, and the bay is so narrow that, unless they get out a warp, they cannot haul in the Xenophon.”
“I have wondered they did not do that before,” said the old sailor. “It could be done.”
“Perhaps they have some other plan. They landed a hundred more men this morning.”
“They can’t be going to make a land attack.”
“No, the land forces are to cut off retreat.”
“It’s that infernal Matson—Lieutenant Matson—curse him! He is the son of my friend; but I say curse him, for all that!” cried the old sea-dog, his face expressing mingled rage and agony.
“Is he in command?” asked Fernando. Before either could speak, a light tread warned Fernando that a third person had entered the room. He started to his feet and, turning about, bowed to Morgianna.
“Captain Stevens, I am proud to welcome you back to Mariana; but I am sorry it could not have been under other circumstances.” She was beautiful—more beautiful than when he left; but there was not expressed by either voice, eye, or flushed cheek any symptom of a more tender regard than friendship. Fernando had so schooled himself, that, as he took her hand, he said in a most commonplace manner:
“I was sent here, Miss Lane. I am a soldier, and wherever duty calls, I go, be it pleasant or unpleasant.”
Morgianna was not prepared for this. The cool, off-hand manner seemed to hardly indicate the respect of friendship. Her face grew deathly pale for a moment, and she almost ceased breathing; but she gained her self-control, and, in a tone as commonplace and cool as his own, hoped he was well and that he would not be killed in the coming struggle. The coming struggle with the Xenophon was nothing compared to his present struggle. Fernando still loved Morgianna. Five years had only added to the intensity of his love; but he had once made a simpleton of himself, and he determined not to do so again. Thus two hungry souls, thirsting for each other’s love, acted the cold part of casual acquaintances. Could the veil have been lifted, could the barriers have been broken down, what misery might have been spared! but it is ever thus. Humanity is contradictory and the heart’s impulses are held in check.
“Miss Lane, this house cannot be a safe place in the coming struggle,” said Fernando. “We have prepared bomb-proof shelters for the women and children, and I hope you will accept refuge in one.”
She said something about her father.
“He shall be cared for. I hope you will let me send a sergeant with a dozen men to convey you both to a place of safety.”
She assented, and he left. Her face was still white, her chin was quivering, and her eyes were growing moist.
“What’s the matter, Morgianna?” asked Captain Lane.
She did not venture an answer, but running to her own room, fell weeping on the couch.
“After five long years, to return so changed—so cold—oh, God, this punishment is greater than I can bear!” she sobbed.
By the middle of the afternoon, the wind changed slightly, shifting to the northeast, and some activity was evinced on board the Xenophon. Fernando thought longer delay was dangerous. Captain Lane and his daughter, with all other women and children, were conveyed to the bomb-proof houses, which had been constructed for them. He was so busy all that day, that he only caught an occasional glimpse of Morgianna.
When night came, the Xenophon had left her moorings, and Fernando predicted she would be brought in broadside to begin the cannonade at daybreak. He retired to his bed at eleven o’clock and at four Lieutenant Willard came to him and said: “Captain, the wind has shifted due east.”
“How is the night?”
“Dark and cloudy.”
“Can anything be seen of the Xenophon?”
“Send a dozen men to the promontory and build a fire. The light would show her to us.”
A dozen bold fishermen, who knew the coast well, went out in their boats, hugging the rocky shore until the promontory was gained, and gathering up great heaps of driftwood on the edge of the bluff, set it on fire, and pulled back.
As the flames shot up, they revealed the Xenophon slowly and carefully feeling her way into the bay. Not a shot was fired, for she was still far away.
Thus the night wore on. Day began to dawn slowly, and as the first light fell on bay and sea it revealed the dread enemy lying like a monster sea-bird in the bay, not a mile away.
The Xenophon was in no hurry to commence. She had her prey so that there was no possible chance of escape, and the officers and men ate breakfast and walked about the deck, talking and joking on the work before them. Through a powerful glass, which Captain Lane furnished him, Fernando recognized Captain Snipes standing on the quarter deck, smoking a cigar.
Fernando had the guns loaded and shotted. They were sighted and ready when the Xenophon should take the initiative.
“Say, Capen, dat Britisher doan git dis chile no more,” said Job. “I can’t find my real massa, but, by golly, I’ve saved up fifty dollars to buy a new one, ’fore I go for to be a Britisher agin.”
Before Fernando could answer, Sukey came running along the breastwork and said:
“Fernando! Fernando—he is there! Captain Snipes is aboard that ship!”
Sukey’s face was deathly white, and his fingers convulsively clutched the air as if grasping at an imaginary throat.
Fernando was standing on the parapet, when a wreath of smoke curled up from the ship’s side, followed by the boom of a heavy gun, and a ball came whizzing through the air, and struck the breastwork.
It was nine minutes after ten o’clock when the first shot was fired. This shot was the signal for a broadside, and a shower of balls with three or four shells came screaming through the air striking the walls of the fort, or exploding over it. One of the shells buried itself in the sand but a few feet from Fernando, and burst, scattering sand and gravel over him.
“Fire!” cried Fernando, without moving from his position.
Immediately the thirty-two pounder and four smaller guns belched forth fire and thunder. Fernando watched the effect through the glass. The thirty-two went wild, and the shots from the smaller pieces fell short. He turned and gave some instructions to the gunners, while a shell came screaming over his head and burst a short distance away, killing one of the marines.
“Fernando, there ain’t no need of you standing up there!” cried Sukey. “You ain’t in the game, till we get near enough to use rifles.”
“Divil a bit will the blackguards iver come near enough for that,” cried Terrence, boldly mounting the breastwork. “Captain, lave me have a squint through yer glass,” and Terrence, assuming a liberty which he only could, took the glass from his hand. The screaming shell and whistling shot continued to come from the Xenophon. “Faith, thim bees buzz nicely round a fellow’s ears,” added Terrence.
Fernando seized his glass, when the thirty-two was again sighted and fixed it on the ship. As the heavy boom shook the earth, he saw a great splash of water twelve feet from the bow.
“Let some one else train the gun,” he cried. “You miss the mark.”
All appeals to Fernando to come down from his dangerous position were unavailing. His anxiety to pierce the Xenophon with the thirty-two kept him on the parapet directing the gunners, while balls and shells shrieked about him. Job tried three shots; but only one did any injury, and that was some insignificant damage to the rigging. Fernando saw at once their disadvantage.
“Oh, if we only had one experienced gunner, he would drive the ship from the harbor,” he thought.
Lieutenant Willard tried three or four shots, and one struck the bow. With glass in hand, Fernando remained on the earthworks, watching the effect of their balls and giving orders to the gunners, while balls and shells flew screaming around him. One shell exploded near the embrasure of one of the smaller guns killing one and wounding four. As yet, they had not touched one of the enemy, and the young commandant was chagrined, anxious and annoyed. He lost his temper and raved at the gunners, who were doing their best. They lacked science.
His brave riflemen stood under the earthworks, grasping their guns which were useless now, while they lamented that the Britons were not in range.
Officers, citizens and even privates implored Fernando to come down. A shell exploded in the air, and a piece grazed his shoulder, yet he kept his place on the rampart. Terrence Malone, who could see no reason for courting death, had sought shelter behind a gun carriage. Fernando’s anxiety and mortification increased as he witnessed the repeated failures of his gunners to hull the Xenophon. Amid smoke, dust and whizzing missiles, he kept his post. The thunder of guns, the whizzing balls, and shrieking shells were unheard in his great anxiety to defeat the British.
Suddenly a hand clutched his arm, and a silvery voice, which he recognized in an instant, cried:
“This is folly! Come down—come down from this certain death!”
“Morgianna, you here!” he cried. “For Heaven’s sake, go to the bomb-proof shelter. You must not expose yourself here.”
“I will not go a step until you come from the rampart.” She clung to him, and appealed so earnestly, the tears of anxiety and fear starting from her eyes, while her white, pleading face was upturned to his, that he could not deny her. All other appeals had been unheeded, but Morgianna’s he could not refuse.
A wild cheer went up from the Americans within the fort as Morgianna descended from the redoubt with the daring captain. He hurried her away to the bomb-shelter, where her father lay raging and fuming, because his infirmity would not allow him to take part in the contest. Fernando obtained a promise from Morgianna that she would not venture from the shelter, by promising in return to keep off the redoubt.
The British shells were telling on the American fort. Though the walls were strong and resisted their balls, several men had fallen beneath their shells. Two solid shot and one shell struck Captain Lane’s elegant mansion on the hill, fired from spite, as the house was far removed from the fort, and no one was near it. A cannon-ball entered the great, broad bay window overlooking the sea, made a wreck of the furniture in the parlor, crashed through the wall, shivering a tall mirror and spreading havoc in the room beyond.
The siege continued all day long, and late in the afternoon, just one hour before sunset, the redcoats appeared on the wooded hill back of the town, and opened fire with two small pieces and muskets. Fernando’s riflemen had been waiting for this, and, with wild yells, they leaped the redoubts, deployed along the stone fences and houses and picked off the redcoats so rapidly, that they fled pell mell to their own works, glad to escape the bullets of those unerring riflemen.
The cannonade kept up until long after midnight. The sky was ablaze with circling shells, and the headlands reverberated with ten thousand echoes.
All the guns in the fort save the thirty-two were silent, for the smaller cannon at that range were useless. The soldiers in the fort lay on their arms, and Fernando slept none. With anxious face he went the rounds of the fort, occasionally watching through an embrasure the ship beyond and the circling shells. During the night, three more of their number were killed and six wounded, while as yet they had done the enemy no hurt.
Shortly after midnight, the firing grew slower and an hour later ceased altogether. Morning dawned slowly, and the flag still floated over the badly battered fort. A sullen, gloomy silence had fallen over the officers and men. They watched the enemy, who at daylight began to warp the ship in a little nearer, that her guns might be more effective. Fernando was silent and his brow dark. There seemed but one thing possible and that was defeat. Reinforcements need not be expected.
The Xenophon came a little nearer to shore, then let go her anchors again and lay broadside to the fort. It was quite evident that she was afraid to come too close, lest some blundering shot would strike her. All of a sudden, a sheet of flame and cloud of smoke from her side concealed the ship from view, and balls once more rained about the fort. The fire this day was more destructive than on the preceding. One house within the enclosure was completely battered down. The church which had been converted into a hospital was set on fire. Fernando discovered it in flames and ran thither to hurry out the wounded. Entering the burning building, through which a shell went screaming, he was horror-stricken and amazed to find Morgianna at one of the bunks, binding up the wounds of a sufferer.
“Morgianna, Morgianna!” he cried, “why do you risk your life here?”
“There is suffering and death here!” she answered. “Am I better than those who risk their lives for me?”
“Morgianna, you must not, yours is no common life—” he began. In the excitement of the moment he almost forgot himself. She was about to answer, when he said, “Noble woman! do not, for Heaven’s sake, run needless danger.”
They hurried the wounded from the burning building. Another house, lower down the hill, was also on fire. It was so near to the great gun, that the heat almost blistered the men who worked it, and for awhile their magazine was in great peril.
The soldiers did all in their power to extinguish the flames; but both church and house burned to the ground.
Night came once more, and the Americans were reduced to the sorest straits. Soon after dark, the cannonading ceased and a silence of death fell over the fort, broken only by the groans of some poor, wounded fellow. The people within the fort went about talking in whispers. Three bodies, which they had not had time to bury, lay, stark and silent under the shed, and there were nine fresh graves on the hillside. In addition, more than thirty of the defenders were disabled from wounds.
Captain Stevens, Sukey, Terrence and Lieutenant Willard were holding a consultation in a room of the old tavern. Lieutenant Willard said:
“Captain Stevens, there is no other alternative, we must surrender. To hold out longer is murder. If we had a few competent gunners we might drive her away, but with our inexperienced men, we are wasting ammunition and life to resist.”
“There is one chance,” said Fernando. “Perhaps we could carry the ship by the board.”
“By the board! divil a bit!” put in Terrence. “Why they’d sink us all before we could get within a hundred yards of the plagued ship.”
Sukey, remembering that Captain Snipes, his avowed enemy, was on board the Xenophon, was eager to make the effort to carry her by the board.
“It will be a desperate undertaking,” said Lieutenant Willard. “If we had sailors instead of riflemen it might be done very easily; but it is a desperate chance; yet we are in a desperate situation.”
“And faith ye’ll come to a desperate end, if ye thry to carry that ship by the board,” interrupted Terrence.
Fernando mustered three hundred men and, ascertaining there were boats to take them to the Xenophon, was about to give the orders to march to the water, when, suddenly, volley after volley of muskets and pistols rang out from the ship. The Americans had passed from the works and were drawn up on the sands. When they heard the firing at the Xenophon, they came to a halt, to guess and wonder at the cause.
It was decided to march the men by a round-about course to the promontory and embark in boats for the ship. By doing this, they could come upon the vessel from the side opposite to the fort, and effect a more complete surprise. Two dozen bold fishermen were entrusted to take the boats along the rocky shore to the point of embarkation. The night was quite dark, and, the water rough, so it required great skill to accomplish this difficult feat.
Fernando and his troops had gained the neck of land reaching to the promontory, and, fearing that the enemy might have landed a force there, and that they would be drawn into an ambuscade, he halted his troops in a dense growth of wood and left them with Lieutenant Willard, while he, with Sukey, Terrence and Job, crept forward to reconnoitre. They had almost reached the promontory, and, convinced that there was no one in ambush, were about to return to the main force, when suddenly an object presented itself to their eyes, which absolutely rooted them to the spot. At about twenty or thirty yards distant, where but the moment before the long line of horizon terminated the view, there now stood a strange figure, which might be six and might be twelve feet in height. It had evidently risen up out of the ground and was floating in the air, as there seemed to be nothing to connect it with the earth. There was a body of spotless white, an obscure mass which might be a head, and two long, white, straight arms, spread apart like a cross. This strange creature was advancing toward them.
“Oh, golly! massa, look ye dar! dat am a ghost!” whispered the darkey.
“A banshee, begorra!” said Terrence.
Fernando was impressed that the strange vision was the result of some English trickery, while Sukey, cocking his gun, declared:
“If it’s mortal, I’ll soon make it immortal.”
“Hold, Sukey!” whispered Fernando, “let us see what it is before you fire.”
“Golly! massa, it am comin’ dis way!”
Fernando could see that the object, with its strange incongruous head, its long arms, of which it now seemed to have three or four, was advancing toward them over the uneven ground; and he gave the order to fall back until they were nearer the troops.
When within about one hundred paces, Fernando made a stand and cried:
This was the first word uttered loud enough to reach the strange four-armed, one-headed, but legless spectre. It produced a wonderful effect, for the odd figure wheeled about and started off at something like a run. Sukey brought his gun to his shoulder and fired.
The report of the gun was the signal for the riflemen under Lieutenant Willard to charge, and all gave chase to the spectre.
“Don’t fire another shot!” cried Fernando. The spectre had not gone a hundred paces, before it stumbled over a loose stone and fell. In a moment, Terrence Malone had seized it and cried:
“Huzzah! boys, I’ve caught the divil himsilf.”
The spectre proved to be a very material like person in the form of a tall sailor with a white jacket and cap and blue trousers. His superabundance of arms could be accounted for by the long, white oar, which he had been carrying on his shoulder, and which he explained was his only weapon, offensive or defensive.
“Where are you from?” asked Fernando.
“I am from his majesty’s frigate Xenophon,” he answered.
“Are you a deserter?” asked Fernando.
“Yes, sir; I am an American by birth, and will die before I raise my hand against my country. To-day, because I refused to work at the guns, I was arrested, to be flogged in the morning, hung or shot at the pleasure of Captain Snipes.”
“I believe I know that voice—” began Captain Stevens.
“Holy golly! it am Massa St. Mark!” yelled a voice behind them, and Job tore his way through the crowd and, flinging his arms about the sailor, cried: “Massa St. Mark! Massa St. Mark! am it you?”
“Faith, it’s the best gunner in the British navy!” cried Terrence.
Fernando had no trouble in recognizing in the stranger the gentlemanly gunner of the Macedonian, who had saved him from being flogged. Terrence, Fernando, Job and Sukey crowded about the newcomer and for a moment plied him with questions. He explained that, having slipped his handcuffs, he rushed on deck, seized the oar, which he still carried, knocked down two sentries and leaped overboard. They fired a hundred shots at him; but, being an excellent swimmer, and the night being dark, he managed to escape. Lying on his back, holding to the oar, he watched for the flash of their guns and pistols, and, when they fired, ducked his head under the water.
The appearance of Mr. Hugh St. Mark naturally caused another consultation. He discouraged their desperate attempt to carry the ship by the board, and Fernando, after sending six fishermen to the headland to acquaint their companions there with the change, marched with his force back to the fort. An hour later the others came.
When day dawned, the Xenophon renewed her cannonading. Mr. Hugh St. Mark was given charge of the thirty-two, and after carefully measuring the distance with an experienced eye, he weighed the powder and loaded the gun. Fernando watched the flight of the first ball, which went whizzing over the leeward rail across the deck and out at the opposite port into the sea. The second shot cut some of the rigging. The British supposed those two shots accidents, but after the third, they were convinced that there was an experienced hand at the gun.
Fernando, in his anxiety to mark the effect of the third shot, forgot his promise to Morgianna and, with the glass in hand, mounted the rampart. The heavy boom of the cannon shook sea and shore. There was no need of a glass to mark the effects. The ball crashed through from side to side sending the splinters flying in every direction. A wild cheer rose from the fort, and Fernando saw five or six carried below the deck, while one of the guns was dismounted and useless. In a few seconds the great gun was again loaded. This, time the ball crashed through the hull. The fifth shot struck the mizzenmast about four feet above deck, and cut it almost away.
“Victory is ours!” cried Fernando, waving his sword in the air.
“Hurrah for ould Ireland and the United States foriver!” shouted Terrence, leaping on the embankment, and dancing a jig. But the Xenophon had not given up the contest yet. She continued to fire her balls and shells with murderous intent until the balls from St. Mark’s direction had cut her mainmast down. It fell over on the lee side dragging with it the fore mainstay and crippling the rigging to such an extent that Captain Snipes began to fear he could not get his vessel out of the harbor. The weight of the mainmast hanging over the side of the vessel was so great that the vessel heeled over to leeward. A dozen carpenters with axes flew to cut away the wreck and the ship righted herself.
While others were rejoicing, Hugh St. Mark was busy sending ball after ball crashing into the Xenophon as if he had many old scores to settle. Sukey, who stood by his side, said:
“Mr. St. Mark, don’t hit the captain—leave him for me.”
The wind and tide bore the Xenophon to the mouth of the harbor just beyond the point of Duck Island, where she was temporarily safe from the balls of the avenging thirty-two.
It soon became evident that the land force under Lieutenant Matson intended to march to the point of land, embark, and return to the ship. Fernando determined to spoil their plan. He mustered two hundred and fifty of his soldiers, marines and militia and started to head them off. Lieutenant Willard was left alone in charge of the fort.
A villager who knew a nearer route guided them by it to a pass between two hills, where the Britons would be compelled to march. Sukey and Terrence were sent forward to reconnoitre, and as they came in sight of the narrow valley surrounded by hills they saw the head of the column of redcoats coming, their banner upheld to the breeze. Terrence wheeling about, ran with all speed back to the advancing soldiers, and cried:
“Come on, me boys! it’s a divil’s own time we’ll have of it in the valley, all to ourselves.”
“Halt! fix bayonets!” commanded Fernando. In a moment, the gleaming bayonets were on each gun. “Forward!—Double—Quick!”
The soldiers, at a run, dashed into the valley just as the British appeared, two volleys delivered in quick succession and they were at it steel to steel. Fernando, bareheaded, engaged a stout Briton in a hand-to-hand struggle, which a quick thrust from Sukey’s bayonet ended. Next, Captain Stevens found himself hotly engaged with his old enemy Lieutenant Matson. Their blades flashed angrily for a moment, but as the lieutenant’s men threw down their arms and begged for quarters, he realized the folly of resisting longer and yielded. His stubborn pride made the struggle hard. He offered his sword to his victor, which he politely declined.
“Keep your sword, lieutenant,” said Fernando. “Though you are my enemy, I trust you have not forgotten that you are a gentleman.”
“I trust not.”
“You shall be paroled as soon as we reach the fort.”
The Britons stacked their arms, and marched in double file under a guard to the fort. Oxen and carts were sent out for the arms and two pieces of artillery which were brought into the fort.
Silent and majestic as an uncrowned prince, seeming neither elated nor depressed by the victory, stood the gunner Hugh St. Mark by the side of the old thirty-two, with which he had fired the shots that saved the fort.
He was tall, straight, broad-shouldered, with hair once chestnut, but now almost gray. His age might be anywhere between forty and fifty years. So calm, majestic and mysterious did he seem, as, with folded arms, he stood gazing unconcernedly about him, that Fernando was constrained to ask himself:
“Who is he?”
Amid the exciting scenes which followed in such rapid succession, no one had noticed that the weather had undergone a wonderful change. By the time the prisoners were comfortably quartered the sun had set, and the sky was obscured with dark clouds from which constant flashes of lightning were emitted. The distant roll of thunder and the sighing of the wind gave warning of the approach of a storm.
“The Xenophon is in a poor condition to weather a storm to-night,” said Lieutenant Willard. “With her hull raked fore and aft a dozen times, her mizzen gone, her foremast shot through, and her rigging so cut to pieces, she can hardly be managed in good weather. A storm would surely drive her on the rocks.”
The vessel could be seen by the flashes of lightning, struggling to get to sea. At last she disappeared. The storm rose and the wind blew a perfect hurricane. Fernando had gone to see Captain Lane to make a full report. It was midnight, and he was still with the captain, when the boom of a gun at sea was heard. That was no gun of battle but a signal of distress.
“What is it?” cried Captain Lane.
“It’s the Xenophon. I fear she cannot weather the storm.”
Then they listened for an hour or more to the occasional boom of a cannon.
“She’s comin’ right in on the stony point sou’east o’ the bay,” cried Captain Lane.
Fernando started to his feet and said:
“We must go to their rescue.”
At this Morgianna, who had been ministering to the wounded, entered and said:
“Are they not enemies?”
“Yes, but fellow-creatures, also. Those signal guns call out humanity, and the bravest are the most humane,” said Fernando.
“I am glad you said that!” she remarked as Fernando hurriedly left the shelter in which the captain lay.
Day dawned and the Xenophon was a broken wreck scattered along the Maryland coast. Occasionally a bruised and bleeding form was picked up senseless or dead among the rocks, or on the beach. Sukey was busiest among the searchers; but the scenes of horror and suffering which everywhere met his view changed his hatred to pity.
At last he came upon a poor, bruised, thoroughly soaked, wretched-looking man lying among some rocks, where the angry waves and receding tide had left him. His once elegant uniform was now rotten, dirty rags. One gold epaulet was gone, and the other was so mud-besmeared that one could scarce tell what it was composed of.
[Illustration: SUKEY’S THUMB LIFTED THE HAMMER OF HIS GUN.]
It required a second look for Sukey to recognize in that miserable creature, drawing every breath in pain, the haughty Captain Snipes, who had scourged and disgraced him. Snipes had severe internal injuries and was dying. Sukey’s thumb lifted the hammer of his gun, then he gazed on the agonized face of his enemy, and, the tears starting to his eyes, he let down the hammer. At this moment Fernando came up, and Sukey cried:
“I can’t do it, Fernando,—I can’t do it! I’ve prayed for this, for years, but now that it’s given me, I can’t. It’s Captain Snipes, but he’s too bad hurt to kill.”
“God has punished him,” said Fernando, solemnly. “Verily, ’vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.’”
They lifted their enemy as gently as if he had been their dearest friend and bore him to a fisherman’s cottage, where Sukey did all in his power to alleviate his suffering; but his time on earth was short. Captain Snipes sank rapidly. That he was conscious and recognized his nurse no one can doubt, for just half an hour before he died, he took Sukey’s hand and spoke the only words he was heard to utter after the wreck.
“Forgive me!” he said.
“I do, captain, God knows I do!” Sukey cried warmly, and the haughty, cruel Captain Snipes passed away, the victim of God’s vengeance.
The day after the wreck of the Xenophon, news came from Baltimore of the repulse of the British fleet and army. It was a day of general rejoicing. A squadron was to be sent to guard the coast and relieve Fernando at Mariana. For some time he had been asking to be attached to some western regiment with his recruits. He received official notice that he had been assigned to a Kentucky regiment under Colonel Smiley, and, with the notice, came a commission to the rank of major. Fernando was ordered to join the regiment at Nashville, Tenn., to act under General Jackson in the South.
The war was shifting to the South; and the western and southern troops were hastening to its defence. Fernando notified his men of the order and Sukey volunteered to go with them. Job also enlisted as cook; but Terrence, having been notified that Privateer Tom ready for sea, once more bade them adieu, and departed for Philadelphia, taking Mr. Hugh St. Mark the gunner with him.
Fernando went to the great white stone house, which had been repaired and again occupied by Captain Lane and his daughter. Captain Lane and Morgianna were alone in the large sitting-room when he entered. The captain was convalescent, but not wholly recovered from his attack of rheumatism.
“So you are going away?” said Captain Lane when Fernando had told him of his last order.
“Yes, captain, a soldier belongs to his country.”
“I know it. I don’t blame you one bit. So you will serve under Jackson. Well, I don’t think another ship will venture to bombard Mariana. Have you sent the prisoners to Baltimore?”
“Yes, sir, all save Lieutenant Matson. I took his parole, and he still remains in the village, I presume, during his pleasure. He will be required to report once a week to Baltimore, but that need not be in person.”
The captain was silent. While speaking, Fernando kept his eyes from the face of Morgianna. He could not look at her and be a witness to the glow of joy which he knew must warm her cheek on being informed that her lover was to remain. She quietly left the apartment while he was conversing with the captain, and when he left, he found her alone in the hall.
It was almost dark; but her face in its beauty seemed to illumine the hall. He took her hand in his own, and felt that same old thrill of five years before.
“I am going away, Miss Lane,” he said, “and I cannot go without bidding you adieu and telling you how much I appreciate your brave, noble, self-sacrificing efforts in caring for the wounded.”
Fernando really had a different opinion of Morgianna from that he had at first entertained. He had thought of her only as a gay, frivolous girl, witty, brilliant and beautiful; but the scenes of death, the siege and carnage had shown him a new Morgianna;—it was Morgianna the heroine. She made several efforts to speak before she could fully control herself.
“Major Stevens,” she faintly said after a struggle, “the people of this poor little village can never feel too grateful to you, for your brave and unselfish defence of their homes!”
“I am a soldier, Miss Lane, and I trust I did my duty.”
Then they stood silent. Fernando would have given worlds to speak the promptings of his heart: but stubborn pride forbade him.
“Whither do you go?” she asked.
“To the South; what point I do not know, save that we join our regiment at Nashville.”
“Will you ever come back, major?”
“If duty calls me—”
“But have you no friends,” she asked slowly, “no friends here, whom you would like to see after the war is over?”
“Many, Miss Lane. These brave men and noble women, who have shared my toils and dangers, are very dear to my heart, and when the Britons have been driven from our country, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to renew my acquaintance with them.”
“You are always welcome, major,” she said, deeply moved. “Will you make me a promise?”
“What is the promise?”
“That you will come as soon as the war is over.”
“It is only a polite way of inviting me to her wedding,” he thought; then he asked:
“Will you be here?”
“If heaven spares me, I shall.”
“Then I will return, Miss Lane, if I live.”
Their discourse had been friendly, but cold and formal. Fernando had once overstepped the bounds when he declared his love; but he was careful not to do so again. Notwithstanding she had leaped to the redoubt amid screaming shells and whistling balls, to persuade him back to the trenches, he could see nothing more tender than love of humanity in her act. He was so thoroughly convinced that she would wed Lieutenant Matson, that he was once on the point of asking her when the marriage would take place, but the subject was too painful to mention.
She followed him quite to the door, and here he said in a voice that was husky despite his efforts to prevent it:
“Miss Lane,—Morgianna, I had him paroled for your sake. He can remain in the village.”
He was gone before she could make any response. His men were mustered at peep of day and marched away to Baltimore.
General Andrew Jackson, to whom Fernando Stevens was marching, was the hero of the war of 1812 in the South. Having utterly crushed the Creek power and wrung from them a treaty which extinguished them politically as a nation, he set about securing that portion of the country against further molestation. The belief that the war in the South was ended proved a deception when the British suddenly appeared in a large force in the Gulf of Mexico. By permission of the Spanish governor of Florida, the British took possession of one of the forts at Pensacola, where they fitted out an expedition for the capture of Fort Bowyer, [Footnote: Now Fort Morgan.] on the eastern
On his return to Mobile, Jackson found a message from New Orleans, urging him to hasten to the defence of that city, as the British commander in the gulf had declared his intention to invade Louisiana, and sent an inflammatory proclamation among the inhabitants.
Jackson arrived at New Orleans, December 2, 1814, and found the city utterly defenceless, and the people filled with alarm and distracted by petty factions. Danger was imminent. The British troops that left Chesapeake Bay after their repulse at Baltimore had gone to the West Indies, where they were joined by about four thousand veterans under the brave Irish General Keane. The combined forces sailed in the direction of New Orleans, late in November. The wives of many of the officers accompanied them, for not a man doubted that the speedy conquest of Louisiana would be the result of the expedition. The dullness of the voyage was enlightened by music and dancing, and all anticipated exquisite pleasures to be found in the paradise before them. It is said that the British officers had promised their soldiers the privilege of the city, when captured, for three days, and that “booty and beauty,” was their watchword.
Fernando Stevens, with his experienced marksmen, joined Jackson at New Orleans on the very day that Jean Lafitte, the pirate of the Gulf, came to offer the services of himself and band to Jackson. The British General had tried to engage the services of this band of outlaws. Lafitte was a shrewd Frenchman, and he and his band had been outlawed by legal proceedings, though their crimes were only violations of the revenue and neutrality laws of the United States. When the invitation of the British was put into his hands, he feigned compliance; but as soon as the bearer had departed, he called his followers around him on the border of the sea, and said:
“Comrades, I am an adopted citizen of the United States, and will never violate the confidence placed in me by serving the enemies of my country. We have been outlawed; perhaps we deserve it by our irregularities. No matter; I am ready to serve my adopted country, and ask you to join me. What say you, comrades?”
His brawny followers threw up their hats and responded:
“We will! we will!”
Fernando was at the headquarters of General Jackson when the famous buccaneer held his interview with him. Fernando’s regiment shortly after his arrival was assigned to the brigade of General Coffee.
The British forces halted at the entrance to Lake Borgne, between which and the Mississippi New Orleans stands. Here, on December 14th, they captured a flotilla under Captain Jones, which secured to them complete command of the lake.
Meanwhile Jackson placed New Orleans under martial law, and carried on his measures of defence so vigorously, that the citizens began to pluck up courage. When he heard of the capture of the flotilla, he sent couriers to General Coffee and others at the head of Tennessee and Kentucky troops, urging them to hasten to New Orleans. His efforts were timely, for, on the 22d of December, General Keane, with more than two thousand five hundred men, reached the banks of the Mississippi through a bayou, nine miles below the city and prepared to take New Orleans by surprise. Vigilant eyes were watching his movements; and a prisoner whom he had taken, escaping, hastened to New Orleans and gave General Jackson notice of the near approach of the foe. At the same time, Coffee and Carroll arrived with the Tennesseeans, and Jackson put a column in motion to meet the invaders. Early on the evening of the 23d of December, they marched, eighteen hundred strong, led by Jackson in person, and at the same time the armed schooner Carolinia dropped down the river to within musket range of the British camp. Shot from that vessel first revealed the fact to the British that their presence was known at New Orleans. The shells and shot from the vessel broke up their camp, when they were attacked in the dark by Jackson and his followers. The combat that followed was indecisive, except in making the invaders more cautious and discreet. In this night conflict, the Americans lost about two hundred men, while the British loss was twice as many.
New Orleans was saved from surprise; now it had to be saved from open invasion. The events of the 23d dispirited the British, and in this condition General Packenham found the troops on his arrival on Christmas day with reinforcements, to take the chief command. He was a veteran, fresh from the Spanish peninsula, and was delighted to find under his control some of the best of Wellington’s regiments.
He immediately prepared to effect the capture of New Orleans and the subjugation of Louisiana without delay. With hot shot the annoying Carolinia was burned, and the Louisiana was the only American vessel left on the river.
Jackson was wide awake, however, and began throwing up a line of intrenchments from the banks of the Mississippi to an almost impenetrable swamp in the rear, four miles from New Orleans.
There has been some dispute in regard to the redoubt which defended New Orleans. There was an old story that a part of the redoubt was composed of cotton bales taken from a rich planter named Mulanthy, and that the cotton bales were afterward sold with hundreds of pounds of British bullets in them. General Harney, in the Washington Sunday Herald, several years ago denied this story. General Harney said:
“I asked General Jackson, General Adair and General Coffee, the latter having the immediate command of a brigade of Tennessee and Kentucky sharpshooters, whose long rifles mainly did the work of death, if there were cotton bales used at all, and they all answered that the only works the Americans had were of earth, about two and a half feet high, rudely constructed of fence-rails and logs laid twenty-four inches apart, and the space between them filled with earth, and if there had been any works constructed from cotton bales they must have known it.” General Harney was made by the Washington Herald to say that in 1825 he was promoted to captain in the first infantry, and sent to Nashville, Tennessee, to recruit for his regiment, and while there he met with Generals Jackson and Coffee, from whom he obtained many points of the battle which have never been in print.
Fernando had seen no service since leaving Mariana on the Maryland coast. His riflemen were eager to meet the foe; but in the night encounter they had been detailed to guard the city, and preserve the peace. Day by day they had expected the enemy to advance to the attack; but the 7th of January, 1815, passed, and the British had not yet moved to the attack, further than some skirmishing and cannonading. On the night of the 7th, the Americans slept on their arms, for they knew Packenham would not long delay. The memorable morning of January 8, 1815, dawned at last.
There was a heavy fog on the river, and the British troops had actually formed and were advancing before Jackson had made his arrangements. Fernando had just roused Sukey, who, having been on guard most of the night, slept late, when he saw General Jackson on his white horse gallop up to where General Coffee and his staff stood. At this moment the fog lifted a little, and the formation of the British army was seen, and Fernando heard Jackson exclaim:
“By G—, they are ours!”
“They are coming, Sukey!” said Fernando. “Get your gun!”.
“Won’t they give me time to eat my breakfast?” Sukey asked.
“I am afraid not.”
At this moment, Job, who was Fernando’s cook, came running forward with some broiled beefsteak on the end of a ramrod. He gave it to Sukey and said:
“Heah, massa, take dis an’ chomp um down foh dey git near enough to fight. I’s gwine ter git my gun an’ teach ’em dis chile ain’t got no Angler Saxun blood in his veins.”
Sukey presented an odd figure, for he wore no uniform. His head was covered with an old, low, broad-brimmed hat. He sat on the carriage of a brass gun near and ate his breakfast, while watching the enemy advance to the attack.
Coffee’s part of the line, to which Fernando was attached, was on the flank extending to the swamp. About a quarter of a mile from it, there was a huge plantation drainage canal, such as are common in Louisiana lowlands. At this, General Packenham formed his first attacking column. His formation was a column in mass of about fifty files front. This was formed under the fire of the regular artillerists in a little redoubt in Coffee’s front and that of some cannon taken from a man-of-war, placed in a battery on the river and served by sailors. Coffee, seeing the direction of the attack, which was intended to turn his flank, dashed down the line saying to his men:
“Hold your fire until you can see their belt-buckles.”
The riflemen were formed in two ranks so that one rank would load while the other was firing.
Fernando’s position behind the earthworks was near an old oak tree, which threw out its branches about his head. Sukey stood at his side holding his long rifle in one hand and his broiled meat and sea-biscuit in the other. The enemy came boldly forward, and a finer display was never seen on review. Their lines were well dressed and Packenham, on his snow white charger, rode as boldly as if he had no fear of death. As Sukey munched his hard biscuit, his eyes were steadfastly fixed on Lord Packenham.
“Say, Fernando, ain’t that fellow on the big horse General Packenham?”
“No doubt of it, Sukey.”
“He’d wipe out the score of what’s left of one hundred and eight,” said Sukey, swallowing his last bite of biscuit at one gulp and examining the priming in his gun.
Colonel Smiley was first to give orders to fire from Fernando’s part of the work, and there rang out a volley all along the line. The brass pieces on their right began blazing away with the heavy iron cannon down toward the river, which with the rattling of small arms almost made the ground quake under their feet. Directly after the firing began, Captain Patterson, from Knox County, Kentucky, came running along. He leaped on the breastwork, and, stooping a moment to look through the darkness, as well as he could, shouted:
“Shoot low, boys! shoot low! rake them! rake them! They’re comin’ on their all-fours!”
It was so dark that little could be seen, until just about the time the battle ceased. The morning had dawned, but the dense fog and thick smoke obscured the sun. The Kentuckians did not seem to appreciate their danger, but loaded and fired, and swore, laughed and joked as though it were a frolic. All ranks and sections were soon broken and after the first volley every man loaded and fired at will. Sukey did not fire as often as some of the others, but at every shot he went up to the breastwork, looked over until he could see a redcoat, and then taking aim blazed away. After each shot he paused to write in his book. Lieutenant Ashby, who had had a brother killed at the River Raisin, seemed frantic with rage and fiendish glee. He ran up and down the line yelling:
“We’ll pay you now for the River Raisin! We’ll give you something to remember the River Raisin!” When the British came up on the opposite side of the breastwork, having no gun, he picked up a rifle barrel which had been broken from the stock and threw it over at them. Then finding an iron bar he leaped upon the breastwork and threw it at the mass of heads crowding forward to scale their works.
While the conflict was at its height, when Packenham was leading the last grand charge against the earthworks. Major Stevens’ attention was directed by repeated and vociferous shouts to “come down,” to an object on his right. Turning his eyes in that direction, he saw Sukey, standing coolly on the top of the breastwork peering into the darkness for something to shoot at. The balls were whistling as thick as hail around him, and cutting up the dirt at his feet.
“Come down, Sukey, come down!” Fernando commanded. Sukey turned round and, holding up the flap of his old, broad-brimmed hat with one hand, to see who was speaking to him, answered:
“Oh, never mind, Fernando—here’s Sukey—I don’t want to waste my powder, and I’d like to know how I’m to shoot until I see something. I’m watching for that man on the big white horse.”
It was not long until Sukey got his eye on the man on the big white horse, and leveling his rifle pulled the trigger. At that instant Packenham fell, bleeding and dying, into the arms of Sir Duncan McDougall, his favorite aid, who performed a similar service for General Ross when he was mortally wounded a few months before. Sukey coolly descended from the breastwork and, sitting down at the root of a tree, took out his book and said:
“I’ve balanced the score. They flogged me; but, by the eternal, I’m more than even.”
During the action some of the Tennesseeans became mixed with Smiley’s regiment. One of them was killed about five yards from where Fernando stood. A ball passed through his head, and from the range of British bullets it seemed quite probable that he was accidentally shot by some of the Americans. This was the only man killed near where Fernando stood. The firing began to slacken when he fell. While three or four men were carrying the body away, a white flag was raised on the opposite side of the breastwork, and the firing ceased. The white flag was a handkerchief on a sword or stick. It was raised by a British major, who was cut off and unable to retreat with the main army. When the firing ceased, he came over the breastwork. A little Tennesseean, who looked as if he had spent his days in the fever-infested swamps, demanded his sword; but the officer was looking about for some commissioned officer to give it to, when Colonel Smiley, whose democratic principles were at enmity with punctilio, ordered him to hand over the sword to “Paleface,” as the youth was called. A great many who were unable to escape in the retreat, came over and surrendered. Among them, Fernando saw a very neatly dressed young man, standing on the edge of the breastwork offering his hand as if for some one to assist him down. He was not over nineteen years of age, and his language and manner indicated the gentleman.
Major Stevens took his musket and set it against the breastwork and assisted him to the ground. He at once began to take off his cartouch box, and the major noticed a red spot on his clean, white under jacket.
“Are you wounded?” Fernando asked.
“Yes, sir, and I fear badly.”
“Let me help you, my man!” said the major, unbuckling his belt.
“Please don’t take my canteen, for it contains my water.”
“I shall not take anything that does not encumber you.”
Just then one of the Tennesseeans who had gone down to the river for water came along with some in a coffee-pot. The wounded man saw him, and said:
“I am very thirsty, sir, will you please give me a drop?”
“Oh, yes,” said the Tennesseean. “I will treat you to anything I have got.” The young man took the coffee-pot and swallowed two or three mouthfuls out of the spout, and handed it back. In an instant, Fernando saw him sinking backward. He called to Sukey, who was near, and they eased him down against the side of a tent, where he gave two or three gasps and was dead. He had been shot through the breast.
A number of British soldiers and officers had sought shelter from the fire of the Americans in the ditch on the other side of the breastwork. These, of course, being unable to retreat came in and surrendered. When the smoke lifted from the battlefield it disclosed a terrible spectacle. The field looked like a sea of blood, for it was literally covered with redcoats. Straight out before their position, the entire space occupied by the British troops was covered with dead or wounded. In some places, where the lines had made a stand, they lay in piles like winrows of hay, while the intervals between were more thinly sprinkled. About two hundred yards directly in front of their position, lay a large dapple gray horse, which was said to have belonged to Packenham. Nearly half way between the horse and the breastworks was a heap of slain, marking the spot where Packenham fell; his horse having retreated some distance before it went down.
The battle was over, and Sukey sat down to finish his breakfast which had been interrupted by the stirring event.
The British left seven hundred dead and fourteen hundred wounded on the field, while five hundred were made prisoners making a loss of twenty-six hundred. The Americans lost eight killed and thirteen wounded.
Packenham and three of his general officers slain in the fight were sent to England in casks of rum for burial. The British troops under General Lambert stole noiselessly away on the night of the 19th across Lake Borgne, in small transports, and escaped to the fleet. They then besieged Fort Bowyer for two days, February 20th and 21st, when Major Lawrence, who was in command, was compelled to surrender, and the victors were about to push on to Mobile, when they were arrested by tidings of peace.
The treaty of peace was signed at Ghent on December 24th, 1814, but, owing to the slow means of communication in those days, it was not known in America until the following February, or the battle of New Orleans would never have been fought.
Though the United States of America had sustained their honor in the war of 1812, the fight was never fought to a finish, nor were the results as satisfactory as might have been hoped.
Had peace been made a little later, America might have obtained much better terms. The war had been waged under great difficulties by the Americans, who were not wholly united, and lacked money, men, arms, ships and experience, yet, under all these great difficulties, the United States came out of the war with the respect of the world, such as it had never before enjoyed. It became formidable to Europe as a great and vigorous power, with which it was not safe to trifle.
This was still more apparent, when the government declared war on the dey of Algiers, one of the pirate princes of North Africa, who, for hundreds of years, had made war on the commerce of all nations almost with impunity. Having violated their treaty, President Madison sent a naval force to the Mediterranean, which, on June 17th and 19th, captured two Algerian vessels-of-war and threatened Algiers. The dey made peace and gave liberty to all prisoners without ransom, and full satisfaction for damages to commerce.
The people of the new republic, learning by experience, in the year 1816, began improving their coast defences and increasing their navy. Commerce and manufacturers were encouraged. In the autumn of 1816, James Monroe was elected president of the United States. On December 11,1816, Indiana was admitted to the Union as a State.
With Monroe’s administration, a new era dawned for America. The failure of the French revolution, and, finally, the failure of Napoleon Bonaparte and the re-establishment of the old monarchy in France, as the result first of the excesses of the French republic, and then of the military interference of Bonaparte with the existing state of things in Europe, had an important influence in modifying the politics of the Republican party in the United States; so they came, partially in Jefferson’s administration and completely by the close of Madison’s, to follow the wise and vigorous policy pursued by Washington and the Federal party; while the general government and the institutions of the country became deeply imbued with the regard to popular rights, and attention to the interests and will of the people that formed the leading idea of Jefferson and the original Democratic, or, as it was then called, Republican party.
The leading events of Monroe’s two administrations were the attention given to internal improvements, among which may be mentioned the Erie canal in New York, the encouragement of manufactures, the acquisition of Florida by treaty, the Seminole war, the Missouri compromise, December 14th, 1819, the Monroe Doctrine, promulgated in 1822, and the visit of General Lafayette to the United States, in August, 1824.
But little explanation of these events is necessary. In December, 1817, Mississippi was admitted into the Union, and Alabama became a territory. On March 2, 1819, Arkansas was organized into a territory, and on December 14, Alabama was admitted to the Union. In this year commenced the earnest and acrimonious discussion between the North and South in regard to the extension of slavery. Both Maine and Missouri sought admission as States. Maine was admitted, March 15th, 1820, and, after a two years’ wild debate, it was thought the whole question of slavery was settled by the Missouri Compromise, February 27, 1821. This compromise was the adoption of a provision in the bill for the admission of Missouri, that in all territory south of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude (the southern boundary of the State of Missouri) slavery might exist; but it was prohibited in the region north of that line. A member of congress from Georgia prophetically said in the course of the debate:
“A fire has been kindled, which all the waters of the ocean cannot put out, and which only seas of blood can extinguish.” Had the Missouri Compromise been kept inviolate to the present day, slavery might still have existed below thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude.
The commerce of the United States was greatly injured by swarms of privateers under Spanish-American flags, who had degenerated into pirates, and so became outlaws, subject to chastisement by any nation.
They infested the West Indian seas and the northern coast of South America. Against these pirates and to protect American commerce, the United States sent Commodore Perry, with two ships of war, in the spring of 1819. Perry died of yellow fever soon after his arrival in southern waters. In June, 1822, Captain Allen, of the United States schooner Alligator, successfully fought a band of pirates in the West Indies, captured one of their schooners, and recaptured five American vessels; but Captain Allen was subsequently killed in an encounter with the bold buccaneers. The next year Commodore Porter, with a larger force, entered the pirate infested waters and almost completely destroyed the buccaneers. It was the policy of the government of the United States to favor the revolt of the Spanish-American provinces, whose flag these pirates had dishonored, as a means for preventing the establishment, in the future, of monarchical powers on the American continent. The latter policy was avowed by the president, and has never been lost sight of by our government, and is known in history as the “Monroe Doctrine.” Accordingly, on the recommendation of the president, congress, early in 1822, resolved by a unanimous vote to recognize the independence of five of the revolted colonies, and appropriated $100,000 to defray the expenses of envoys to the seat of government of each, whom the president soon afterward appointed.
The year 1824 was marked by the visit of Washington’s and America’s best friend General Lafayette. As every boy has read of the visit of this good man, only a brief mention of so important an event is necessary. He arrived at New York August 15, 1824, and never did visitor receive so warm welcome by any nation.
“Many interesting incidents occurred during Lafayette’s tour through the country. A touching one was related to the writer, many years ago, by George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of General Washington. In October, 1824, Lafayette visited Mount Vernon and the tomb of Washington. He was conveyed to the shore from the steamboat in a barge, accompanied by his son (who had lived at Mount Vernon with Custis when they were boys), secretary John C. Calhoun, and Mr. Custis. At the shore, he was received by Lawrence Lewis, a nephew of Washington, and the family of Judge Bushrod Washington, who was absent on official business. He was conducted to the mansion where, forty years before, he took his last leave of the patriot, whom he most sincerely loved as a father. Then the company proceeded to the tomb of Washington (the old one on the brow of the hill), when Mr. Custis, after a brief speech, presented the general with a gold ring containing a lock of Washington’s hair. Lafayette received it with emotion, and, after thanking the donor, he affectionately embraced him and the other gentlemen present. Then he fervently pressed his lips to the door of the vault. It was opened and there were displayed the coffins of Washington and his wife, decorated with flowers. The general descended the steps, kissed the leaden caskets, while tears suffused his cheeks, and then reverently retired.” [Footnote: Lossing’s “Our Country,” Vol. V., p. 1327.]
Shortly after peace was declared, Fernando’s regiment was mustered out of the service, and he and Sukey went to their homes in Ohio. Both had done their share toward preserving the honor of their country and wished to retire to private life. A great change had come over Sukey. The text quoted by Fernando on the morning when they found Captain Snipes dead among the rocks seemed ever to ring in his ear.
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” He proceeded to a careful study of the sentence, and from that became a student of the Bible. A few days after their return, he said:
“Fernando, what I did during the war was right, but was not done in the right spirit. I shot from revenge. I killed because I hated the British officers. I seemed to feel the stinging cuts of the cat on my back. That flogging made a devil of me. I hated the sight of a redcoat. It’s all gone now—not that my revenge is satiated, but because I am changed. A new light has been opened up to my mind, and I can see it was no disgrace to be flogged for freedom. It was the ignorance of my enemies that I should have pitied instead of condemned.”
Fernando suspected the bent of Sukey’s mind long before he made the announcement that he intended to enter the ministry. Back to the Maryland Academy at Baltimore went Sukey. He entered the theological department, and four years later began a long and successful ministerial career.
Major Stevens had not forgotten his promise to pay the Maryland village a visit. If he had been disposed to forget his promise, which he was not, he would have been reminded of it by a letter which he received shortly after he returned home. The envelope was small, and the superscription was written in a neat feminine hand. Small as the envelope was, the letter contained much, for it was closely written and every page filled from top to bottom. There were other letters and petitions from the grateful citizens asking him to be present at the barbecue and Fourth of July celebration at the town of Mariana. None of these letters or invitations had stronger effect to induce him to take a journey to Maryland, than the closely penned missive did, though it was only a friendly letter.
Fernando set out the first of June. Peace again reigned over the fair land, and the country was all ablaze with glory. The ploughboy’s whistle was heard in every field in harmony with the lark. The journey by mail coach was a pleasant one, for, being in no great haste, he traveled by easy stages, stopping over frequently to rest. He saw on every hand evidence of awakening interest and prosperity. New houses were building; new towns were laid out; new fields were inviting the ploughman; the busy hum of industry everywhere filled the heart of the patriot, and he more than once exclaimed:
“What a great country is ours!”
He arrived at Baltimore at the close of a delightful day, and alighted in front of the principal tavern. Some one, rushing across the street, pushed pedestrians right and left and howled in a voice loud enough to be heard three blocks away:
“Tear and ages! Clear the track!—that’s himself—divil a one else!”
This exclamation came from Terrence Malone, who, bareheaded and in shirt sleeves, was rushing through the throng of people on the street in reckless disregard of high hats and crinoline. Women screamed and one hysterical creature tried to faint, but was restrained by the fear that her elegant costume might be soiled.
“Call the watchman! Take that fellow and lock him up! knock him down! Who is the wretch?”
These are only a part of the imprecations heaped on the devoted head of Terrence Malone, who, regardless of everything and everybody, burst his way through the crowd and reached Fernando’s side.
“O, murther! O; holy mother! O, Moses! Is it yersilf safe afther all?”
The poor fellow could say no more, but burst into tears, for a more tender heart never beat in any breast. Terrence had just arrived an hour before in Baltimore, having come from a long cruise in which he brought four prizes, for the privateers were slow to learn that the war was over. He had put up at a rival house across the street and just removed his coat for a bath, when, looking out of the window, he recognized his old friend alighting from the stage coach.
All former arrangements were cancelled and Fernando and Terrence that evening occupied the same room. There was much to talk about. Terrence told him that Mr. Hugh St. Mark the “illigant” gunner had served in the last cruise on his vessel, and he never seemed to tire of talking about him. He was a “gintleman,” from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Mr. St. Mark was on the ship in the harbor, and next day came ashore. He greeted the major with his kind quiet smile. Fernando learned that neither had been to Mariana since the bombardment and destruction of the Xenophon. He prevailed on them to accompany him, and next day in a swift yacht they sailed out of the harbor and down the coast. The scenery revived many recollections of Fernando’s early experience. They passed the point where he had fought his duel, and he could not repress a smile at the ludicrous termination of what had so nearly proved a serious affair. Terrence did most of the talking, for Fernando was busy with his own reflections. He was asking himself if it might be possible that he would be just in time to witness the nuptials of Matson and Morgianna. He had never freed himself from the thought that she loved the lieutenant. Her regard for himself was gratitude not love. He would not allow himself to believe that she entertained a more tender sentiment.
When they arrived at Mariana the people congregated in a great crowd on the beach, and the local martial band, consisting of three drums and a fife, played “Yankee Doodle.” while Fernando and his friends were escorted to the tavern. Here a local orator, who had been three times an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in the halls of the legislature, made a short speech. This had scarcely terminated in three rousing cheers, when a carriage from Captain Lane’s house came rattling down the street. The captain was in the vehicle.
“Why are you cheering? Who has arrived?” he demanded.
“Major Stevens, who saved Mariana, when the British were about to take it,” the orator answered.
“Where is he?”
“In the tavern.”
“But he is not going to stay there!” thundered the old sailor, rolling out of his carriage and rushing on the piazza. “I have made room in my own house for him, and, by the trident of Neptune! he shall come with me.”
Fernando, hearing the voice of his old friend, came out to grasp his hand; and Captain Lane, pointing to his carriage, swore he had come to take him bag and baggage to his house. Fernando explained that he had two friends; but the captain did not care if he had a dozen, and in less time than the whole matter could be told the three travellers found themselves in the vehicle whirling up the avenue of trees, many of which still bore the marks of shells and cannon shot.
The greeting between Fernando and Morgianna was warm, but formal. Terrence impulsively grasped the little hand of the “maid o’ the beach,” as he called her, and paid her some pretty compliment, which caused her to blush, enhancing her beauty a hundred fold.
She was formally introduced to Mr. St. Mark, the gunner whose skill had saved them. She had seen the quiet man at a distance during the siege, but had never talked with him.
“Say, Fernando, do yez mark how Misther St. Mark stares at Miss Morgianna?” asked Terrence that evening. “Bad luck to his ill manners, if he wasn’t so ould, I’d think he was in love with her.”
Fernando made no response. Captain Lane, during the evening, engaged St. Mark in a discussion about General Jackson, who was undergoing a trial by the civil courts of New Orleans for the violation of the civil laws in saving the city. Captain Lane was loud in his condemnation of the Peace faction, which, not satisfied with having thrown every possible obstacle in the way of the administration in the prosecution of the war, was now ridiculing the manner in which it had terminated.
Fernando and Morgianna, during the course of the evening, found themselves alone, and he ventured to ask:
“Is Lieutenant Matson in America?”
“I think not,” she answered, in a careless way that astonished him. He fixed his eyes on the floor for a moment, and then ventured to say:
“Pardon me, Miss Lane, but as your friend I am interested in your affairs;—when is it to come off?”
“When is what to come off?” she asked in real surprise.
“Your marriage with Lieutenant Matson.”
She gazed at him a moment in astonishment, and then her old native mischievousness got control, and she laughed outright. His very earnestness gave the affair an air of ludicrousness.
“I am in earnest, Miss Lane,” said Fernando, seriously.
“So I perceive,” and she still laughed provokingly.
“May I ask if you have not been engaged all along to Lieutenant Matson?”
“When was it broken off?”
“It never was made.”
Fernando turned his face away to hide his confusion and said half aloud:
“Have I been a fool all along? If it was not the lieutenant, then who in the name of reason was it?” The roguish creature seemed really to enjoy this discomfiture. Fernando’s cheek had never blanched in battle, but in the presence of this little maiden he was a coward. After several efforts in which he found the old malady of something rising in his throat returning, he said:
“But, Morgianna, was he not your lover?”
“No, he was father’s friend; but I could never love him, though I treated him respectfully.” She was serious now.
“Then, Morgianna, who was it?” he asked impulsively. She was silent. He waited but a second or two and went on. “Some one surely stood in the way of our—my happiness. I had hoped that you did not despise me. I scarce dared to think you loved me, but it was some one,—who stood in my way?”
Her cheek grew crimson as the rich blood mounted to neck and face, and in a voice scarce audible she answered:
“Morgianna!” he whispered, “dare I hope—dare I for one minute—” he had risen to his feet and was standing at her side with wildly beating heart. She made no answer, but her long drooping lashes almost concealed her eyes, as she gazed on the floor.
He advanced a step nearer, bent over and took one little trembling hand in his own. She did not attempt to withdraw it this time, and, gently slipping his disengaged arm about her waist, he murmured:
Still she was silent. He went on:
“You know how I have loved you all these years;—you must have known how I have suffered and braved dangers untold. I sought—defied death, because I deemed you lost. I spared the man I thought my rival, because I believed you loved him. Though a young man, there are gray hairs in my head, for it has been a living death since that night, Morgianna. Why have you——”
“Oh, don’t, don’t!” she plead, tears starting to her beautiful eyes. “Don’t speak that way—forgive me.”
“Morgianna!” cried Fernando, “Morgianna!”
“Call me that; aye call me that always,” exclaimed the captain’s little daughter; “never speak coldly to me, never be distant, never again reprove me for the follies I have long repented, or I shall die, Fernando.”
“I reprove you!” said Fernando.
“Yes, for every kind and honest word you uttered went to my heart. For you who have borne so much from me—for you, who owe your suffering to my caprice—for you to be so kind—so noble to me—oh, Fernando!”
He could say nothing, not a syllable. There was an odd sort of eloquence in his arm, which had crept further round her waist, and their lips met.
The barbecue and celebration was next day. Fernando was present, but a little absent-minded. When called on for a speech, his ideas were confused, and he was about to break down, when a voice behind him whispered:
“Ye’re makin’ a divil’s own mess of it, Fernando, lave it to me.”
He took Terrence at his word, and announced that his Irish friend, one of the defenders of Mariana, would now address them, and gave way to the orator. Terrence did the subject justice. With the rich brogue of Ireland rolling from his tongue, he avowed himself an American. He declared that he was a better American than many present, as he was an American from choice, and they by necessity. Terrence was an orator, and with his ready wit, soon had the audience roaring and wild with enthusiasm.
Fernando did not hear much of the speech, for he and Morgianna had stolen away to the rocky promontory to listen to the sad sea waves, while they built air castles for the future.
Next day, Mr. St. Mark expressed a wish to see Captain Lane in private. The request was granted, and when they were alone in the apartment of the old sea-captain, St. Mark said:
“Pardon me, Captain Lane; but I wish to speak to you on family matters, which may seem not to concern me.”
“Heave ahead, shipmate, for I have no family secrets.”
“Will you tell me the maiden name of your wife?”
“I never had a wife.”
This announcement brought St. Mark to his feet, and his usually placid features exhibited the wildest excitement. “Never married! But your daughter—”
“Only daughter by adoption, shipmate. She is no blood relation to me, though I love her as dearly as any father could.”
“But her father—her mother?”
“I don’t know who either of them are, I can only suspect.”
“Don’t you know their names?”
“I never did.”
“This is remarkable!” and the features of the usually quiet man betrayed the greatest excitement. “Where did you find her and when?”
“I found her at sea when she was a baby, too young to speak or remember anything of herself.”
“Captain Lane, do you mind telling me all about the finding of her?”
The captain did not, and proceeded to tell him the story of Morgianna, which the reader already knows. St. Mark had regained his composure at the conclusion of the story and, in a calm, clear voice, said:
“Captain, I may have the sequel to your story. I am a native of Vermont and, at the age of twenty-two, married Bertha Rigdon of Boston, whose brother Alfred, like myself, was a sea captain. We were both young, ardent lovers of liberty, and thoroughly imbued with the ideas of Thomas Jefferson in regard to the French Revolution. When our government refused to take up the quarrel with France, we determined to espouse her cause ourselves. Both our fathers had died prisoners on board the old Jersey prison ship, and we felt that our lives should be devoted to avenging them. This resolution was wicked, and perhaps the punishment which followed we deserved.
“We each commanded a vessel which began a warfare on English commerce, defying all their embargo acts and neutrality laws. We were soon declared outlaws and prices set on our heads. Not only Great Britain, but Spain, Prussia and Austria declared us pirates, and our own government dared not shelter us.
“My wife, with our infant child, accompanied me on my last voyage. I was sailing in company with her brother, Captain Alf Rigdon, when we were chased by some British cruisers off Rio in June, 1796, and Alf’s brig being the swiftest sailer, I sent my wife and child aboard his vessel, with a large sum of money to have them conveyed to the United States and cared for until we could return.
“I parted from the ship and after a three days’ chase was overhauled by the British cruisers and captured. I was forced to join her navy to save my life, and served Great Britain until I deserted during the siege of Mariana. I have never heard of my brother-in-law, my wife or child since.”
Captain Lane prided himself on being able to control his feelings under all circumstances; but it required no little effort for him to do so now. After a few moments, he asked:
“What was the name of your brother-in-law’s ship?”
Captain Lane did not start, for he expected this.
“Was he a free mason?”
“Can you describe how he looked then?”
“He was about thirty-five years of age, a little above middle height, with a broad forehead, over which fine brown hair fell in careless folds; he wore his beard and mustache long, the beard extending in a point two or three inches below the throat. His eyes were brown, large and full of expression while in conversation. He was brave, noble, and all that goes to make up a grand man.”
“And your wife, can you describe her?”
“She was an exact counterpart of your daughter.”
Captain Lane rose and with considerable emotion grasped the hand of St. Mark, and said:
“My daughter is your daughter.”
Then came the serious task of breaking the intelligence to Morgianna.
It was done deliberately and quietly, without any sensational scene. Yet her joy at discovering her father increased her happiness almost to overflowing. “I am more blest than most girls,” she declared. “I have two fathers, and while I will learn to love my new father, I will not forget to love my old father.”
The marriage of Fernando and Morgianna was celebrated the following autumn at the new church which had been erected over the Ashes of the former one. Both of Morgianna’s fathers were present; but to her real father was consigned the honor of giving away the bride.
Terrence and Sukey were present. The Irishman declared the matter might have been consummated long ago if they had only left it to him.
The wedding day was made a public holiday in the village. Never in all its existence was the little hamlet so gay. Bands played, choruses sang, and the old cannon, still left at the tumble-down fort, fired a salute, while American flags waved from every house. The local orator, who still entertained hopes of the legislature, delivered a stirring address.
Job, who heard of the happy event, came all the way from Baltimore to shake the hand of “Massa Stevens” and wish him much joy.
“I iz all right now, massa,” he declared. “I iz found my own sure enough massa agin, an’ I’m goin’ back to work for him all de time. No more goin’ to sea fer me; I iz no Britisher.”
Fernando and his father-in-law, soon after his marriage, engaged in manufacturing enterprises in New England, with Captain Lane as the silent partner and moneyed man of the enterprise. Home industries having been fostered by the war, American manufactures promised a bright future.
Sukey was for many years a prominent minister of the Gospel in Ohio. Terrence studied law and became a leading member of the Philadelphia bar.
Mariana is now no more. Time and disaster have swept it from the peninsula, and to-day it remains only in the memory of the oldest inhabitants. The Stevens family, though subjected to many disasters, has grown, and become a part of the history of the country. The humble part played by Fernando in sustaining the honor of his country has never been recorded by the general historian; but it lingers in the memory of the grateful posterity of many of the heroic men and women who lived in the trying days of the early history of the Great Republic of the New World.
* * * * *
Adams, John, first minister to Court of St. James
Adams’ proposition of reciprocity rejected by England
Alabama and Arkansas organized as Territories and
Alert captured by the Essex
Alexandria plundered by British
Algerians force Americans to pay tribute
American army at Detroit
Americans attacked at River Raisin
Americans return to Detroit
Americans repulsed at La Colle
American troops at Bladensburg
Attack by British on Plattsburg fails
Bainbridge forced to convey the Algerine ambassador to Constantinople
Baltimore threatened by the enemy
Barclay, Commodore, defeated at Lake Erie
Barker, Mr., warns Mrs. Madison to fly
Barron, Commodore, suspended from the navy
Battle of Bladensburg
Battle of Chicago
Battle of Chippewa
Battle of Chrysler’s Farm
Battle of Emucfau
Battle of Fort Stephenson
Battle of Horse-shoe Bend
Battle of Lake Erie
Battle of Lundy’s Lane
Battle of New Orleans
Battle of Queenstown
Battle of River Raisin
Battle of Sackett’s Harbor
Battle of the Thames and death of Tecumseh
Battle of Tippecanoe
Black Partridge saves Mrs. Helm at Chicago
Blockades of French and English
Bonaparte conquers almost all of Europe
Boerstler, General, captured at Beaver’s Dam
British agent at Pensacola offers Indians five dollars for each scalp
British arraigned by committee on foreign relations
British at Lake Borgne
British capture Washington, and burn Capitol
British discrimination in favor of New England States
British impressment of American seamen
British repulsed at Fort Erie
British instigate Indians to an uprising
Brock, General, proceeds to attack Detroit
Brown, General Jacob, at Kingston
Brown repulses Prevost at Sackett’s Harbor
Brown, General, at Lundy’s Lane
Burr’s, Aaron, conspiracy
Calhoun, John C., in debate favors war
Camp meeting in the old pioneer days
Canada divided into Upper and Lower Canada
Canada, invasion of
Chandler and Winder, Generals, captured
Chauncey, Commodore, blockading British at Kingston
Chesapeake attacked by Leopard
Chesapeake captured by Shannon
Citizen Genet, insolence of
Clay, Henry, speaker of the house of representatives
Clermont, Fulton’s first steamboat
Coffee, General, defeats Indians at Tallahatchee
Committee of Democrats inform Madison he must declare war
Contraband munitions of war
Constitution, the, captures Guerriere
Constitution, the, captures the Java
Constitution, February 28, 1815, captures two British vessels
Creek Indians in South attack Fort Mimms
Croghan, Major George, in command of Fort Stephenson
Dearborn commissioned major-general
Decatur, Stephen, destroys ship Philadelphia
Defeat of the prophet
Democratic party, how organized
Detroit surrendered by Hull
“Don’t give up the ship”
Dudley, Colonel, mortally wounded near Fort Meigs
Effects of the Embargo Act
Embargo Act of 1807
Embargo laid on commerce for forty days before declaring war
Emigrants to the Ohio—the journey
Emperor of Russia offers himself as a mediator between
the United States
and Great Britain
England’s idea of American independence of colonies
Enterprise, the, captures the British Boxer
Essex captures the Alert in a fight of eight minutes
Essex captures twelve British whalers
Essex captured by two British men-of-war
Federal party, how organized
Floyd, General, defeats Indians at Autossee
Fort Stephenson, British repulsed at
Fort George captured by General Scott and Commodore Perry
Fort Erie strengthened by General Ripley
Fort McHenry bombarded
Fort Bowyer, British repulsed at
“Free Trade and Sailors’ Eights,” motto of Essex
French Revolution, its effect on American politics
Frolic, British ship, captured by American Wasp
Frolic captured by Orpheus
Great Britain holds her posts in violation of treaty
Greenville, the prophet at
Guerriere captured by Hull
Hamilton, Alexander, leader of the Federalists
Hamilton, Alexander, murdered by Aaron Burr
Harrison, General W.H., invites Tecumseh and the prophet
to a council
Harrison prepares to attack the prophet
Harrison at Tippecanoe
Harrison attacked at 4 o’clock A.M.
Harrison succeeds Hull
Harrison, General, at Fort Meigs
Harrison, offended at General Armstrong, the secretary of war, resigns
Heald, Captain, at Fort Dearborn, notified of the fall of Mackinaw
Heald attacked near Fort Dearborn or Chicago
Heald, Captain, and wife saved from massacre
Helm, Mrs., saved by Black Partridge
Henry, John, gets admission to Madison by a letter from Elbridge Gerry
Henry sells President Madison his papers
Houston’s, Sam, General, victory at Horse-shoe Bend
Hornet captures the Peacock
Hornet captures the Penguin
Hull, Governor of Territory of Michigan
Hull in Washington, made Brigadier-General
Hull invades Canada; retreats
Hull at Detroit
Hull surrenders Detroit
Hull convicted of cowardice but pardoned
Hull, Captain, captures the Guerriere
Indians, treaty with, for Ohio lands
Indians, instigated by British to uprising
Indians plundering on the Wabash
Indiana and Illinois become Territories
Inhabitants of the Great West
Internal improvements after the war of 1812
Jackson, General Andrew, in command in the South
Jackson defeats Creeks at Emucfau
Jackson charging into Pensacola
Jackson at New Orleans
Jackson attacks the British camp
Jefferson, Thomas, founder of Democratic party, moved by French Revolution
Jefferson and Hamilton’s opposing views on French Revolution
Jefferson, Thomas, elected President
Jefferson, description of; his policy
Jefferson’s ideas of peace and war
Johnson, R.M., Colonel, at the Thames
Keane, General, threatening New Orleans
Key, Mr. Francis S., the poet, composing the “Star
while a prisoner
King George III. hopelessly insane; Prince of Wales ruler
Lafayette’s, General, visit to America
Lafitte, Jean, pirate of the Gulf, offers his services to Jackson
Lake Erie, battle of
Lambert, General, retreats from New Orleans
Laulewasikaw, the prophet, Tecumseh’s twin brother
Lawrence, Captain, death of
Legislatures by concurrent resolutions ask Congress to declare war
Lewistown, Delaware, bombarded
Louisiana purchased from France
Louisiana admitted to the union
Macedonian captured by Decatur
Madison, James, President; his cabinet
Madison’s political changes
Madison’s inaugural address makes him popular
Madison’s message to Congress to declare war against Great Britain
Madison re-elected President of the United States
Madison’s second inauguration
Madison and cabinet flying from Bladensburg
Madison, Mrs., saves Washington’s picture and
parchment of the
Declaration of Independence
Maine becomes a State
Maiden captured by Americans
Marcy, Wm. L., captures first British colors
Massacre at River Raisin
Maumee Rapids, Harrison building Fort Meigs at
Measures taken to sustain the declaration of war
Miller defeats Indians
Miller, Colonel, at Lundy’s Lane
Ministers of the Gospel on the frontier
Monroe, James, elected President of United States
Nautilus captured by Peacock, the last naval engagement of war
Naval forces on lakes
Napoleon, influence of, on United States gone
New England governors (Caleb Strong, William Plummer,
and Roger Griswold)
refuse their militia to serve the United States
New England coast threatened
New Orleans, Jackson at
New Orleans under martial law
Ohio valley opened up to settlers
Ohio becomes a State, in 1802
Ontario, naval force on
Orpheus captured by Frolic
Oswego, New York, destroyed by British
Packenham, General, death of
Peacock captures the Nautilus, the last naval engagement
Peacock captures Epervier
Pelican captures Argus
People forcing the war on the leaders
Perry’s victory on Lake Erie
Pike, General, death of
Pottawattomies attack Americans near Chicago
Pirates of the West Indies
Preparations for war made
President and the Little Belt
President captured by English vessels
Prevost, Sir George, repulsed at Sackett’s Harbor
Proctor attacks General Winder at River Raisin
Questions of wrong reviewed in Madison’s message
Queenstown, battle of
Raisin River, Americans at
Raisin River, Winchester attacked at
Rattlesnake captured by a British man-of-war
Redoubts at New Orleans
Rial, General, defeated by General Scott
Ripley, General, in command at Lundy’s Lane, retreats.
Rodgers, Commodore, insulted by Little Belt
Ross, General, and Cockburn, threaten Washington City
Ross, General, death of
Sackett’s Harbor, siege of
Scott, Winfield, at Queenstown
Scott, General, at Lundy’s Lane
Shawnees under Tecumseh roused
Short, Lieutenant-Colonel, killed at Fort Stephenson
Smythe, General, dismissed from service
“Star Spangled Banner,” how composed
Stephenson, British repulsed at
Stonington, British repulsed at
Strong, Caleb, Governor of Massachusetts, refused
to allow militia
of his State to defend northern Territory against British
Tecumseh rousing Indians to resistance
Tecumseh opposing sale of lands
Tecumseh demands a return of lands
Tecumseh’s speech to Proctor
Tecumseh and Proctor abandon Maiden
Tecumseh, death of
Treaty with Indians for Ohio valley lands
United States commerce a prey to British cruisers
United States offers to register seamen
Van Horne defeated
Van Rensselaer, Stephen, Brigadier-General New York militia
“Victor and spoils” theory inaugurated by Jefferson in 1801
Vixen, United States brig, captured by the Southampton
War declared by Congress
War of 1812 waged under difficulties
War with Algiers
Washington’s wisdom and conservative policy
Washington, George, laying corner-stone of capitol building, 1793
Washington City, seat of government removed to
Washington City, threatened by British
Washington City, captured by British, pillaged and capitol building burned
Wasp captures Frolic and is captured
Wasp captures Reindeer, Avon and three other
Whitney, Eli, inventor cotton gin
Winder, General, trying to raise troops to defend capitol
Xenophon, the, on the Maryland coast
Young members in Congress who favor war with England
elect Henry Clay
York, siege of
Zeal of Jefferson to aid French
PERIOD X.—AGE OF LIBERTY ESTABLISHED.
A.D. 1800 TO A.D. 1824.
18OO. INDIANA TERRITORY formed,—July 4.
LOUISIANA ceded to France by Spain by secret treaty,—Oct. 1.
SEAT OF GOVERNMENT removed to Washington, D.C.; Congress met,—Nov. 17.
1801. THOMAS JEFFERSON inaugurated president,—March 4.
MILITARY ACADEMY established at West Point, N.Y.,—March 10.
TRIPOLI declared war against the United States,—June 10.
1802. GEORGIA’S cession of territory to
OHIO admitted to the Union,—Nov. 22.
1803. LOUISIANA ceded to the United States by
80,000,000 francs,—April 30. (By this cession the United States
claimed to the present western boundary of Florida.)
1804. The Philadelphia destroyed by Decatur
DUEL between Hamilton and Burr, at Hoboken, N.J.,—July 11.
TWELFTH AMENDMENT to the Constitution declared in force,—Sept. 25.
ORLEANS TERRITORY formed,—Oct. I.
DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA formed, same as Louisiana cession,
1805. LOUISIANA TERRITORY formed,—March 3.
JEFFERSON’S second presidential term began,—March 4.
TREATY OF PEACE concluded with Tripoli,—June 4.
MICHIGAN TERRITORY formed,—June 30.
1806. BONAPARTE’S Berlin Decree,—Nov. 21.
1807. BRITISH “ORDERS IN COUNCIL”
requiring goods to land in
Great Britain,—Jan. 7.
THE Chesapeake attacked by the Leopard
off the coast of
AARON BURR tried for treason, at Richmond, Va.; acquitted,—Sept. 1.
FULTON successfully applied steam navigation on the Hudson,—Sept. 14.
BRITISH “ORDERS IN COUNCIL” prohibited
trade with France and
BONAPARTE’S Milan decree prohibited trade with
1808. BONAPARTE’S Bayonne decree ordered
seizure of United States
1809. NON-INTERCOURSE ACT, prohibiting trade
with Great Britain
and France, passed,—Feb. 27.
ILLINOIS TERRITORY formed,—March 1.
JAMES MADISON inaugurated president,—March 4.
1810. BONAPARTE’S Ramboulliet decree; 132
American vessels seized
and sold,—March 23.
1811. GEORGE, Prince of Wales, appointed regent
BATTLE between the President and Little
BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE, Ind.; Harrison defeats Indians,—Nov. 7.
1812. LOUISIANA admitted into the Union,—April 30.
WAR with Great Britain proclaimed by the United States,—June 19.
HULL’S EXPEDITION against Fort Maiden, Canada,—July.
FORT MACKINAW captured by British and Indians,—July 17.
FIRST BATTLE of Brownstown, Mich.; British defeated Van Horn,—Aug. 5.
SECOND BATTLE of Brownstown, or Manaugua; American victory,—Aug. 9.
BRITISH sloop Alert taken by the Essex,
HULL surrendered Detroit,—Aug. 16.
THE Guerriere, British frigate, captured by
Constitution, off Massachusetts,—Aug. 19.
BATTLE OF QUEENSTOWN, Canada; Van Rensselaer wounded,
BATTLE OF LEWISTON, N. Y.; Cowardly conduct of American
BRITISH ship Poictiers captured the Frolic
off North Carolina,—Oct. 18.
BRITISH ship Macedonia captured by United
Canary Islands,—Oct. 25.
MISSOURI TERRITORY formed,—Dec. 7.
BRITISH frigate Java captured by the Constitution,
off Bahia, Brazil,—Dec. 29.
1813. BATTLE OF FRENCHTOWN, Mich.; Winchester
BRITISH brig Peacock captured the Hornet
Demarara, South America,—Feb. 24.
MADISON began second presidential term,—March 4.
BATTLE OF YORK, Canada (now Toronto); explosion of
FORT MEIGS besieged by 2,000 British and Indians under Proctor,—May 1.
GENERAL CLAY and I,200 Kentuckians dispersed besiegers,—May 5.
PBEVOST made an unsuccessful attack on Sackett’s Harbor,—May 29.
THE Chesapeake, Captain Lawrence, captured
by the Shannon,
in Massachusetts Bay,—June I.
DEFENCE OF FORT STEPHENSON (now Lower Sandusky, O.)
AMERICAN brig Argus captured by the Pelican,
English Channel,—Aug. 14.
THE CREEK WAR; Massacre of Fort Mimms, Ala.,—Aug. 30.
BRITISH brig Boxer captured by the Enterprise,
PERRY’S victory at west end of Lake Erie,—Sept. 10.
BATTLE OF THE THAMES, or Moravian town, Canada; Tecumseh
BATTLE OF TALLADEGA, Ala.; Jackson defeated the Creeks,—Nov. 9.
BATTLE OF CHRYSLER’S FIELD, Canada; British repulsed,—Nov. 11.
PORTER made a successful cruise in the Pacific with the Essex.
1814. BATTLE OF TOHOPEKA, or Horse-Shoe Bend,
Ala.; last of the
Creek War,—March 27.
AMERICAN frigate Essex captured off Chile,—March 28.
WILKINSON repulsed at La Colle Mill, Canada,—March 30.
Peacock captured British brig Epervier,
Wasp captured British sloop Reindeer,
GENERALS SCOTT AND RIPLEY captured Fort Erie,—July 3.
BATTLE OF CHIPPEWA, Canada; Scott defeated Riall,—July 5.
BATTLE OF LUNDY’S LANE, Canada, the most obstinate of the war,—July 25.
FIRST BATTLE of Fort Erie, Drummond repulsed,—Aug. 15.
Ross dispersed Americans at Bladensburg, Md.,—Aug. 24.
WASHINGTON D. C., captured; public buildings burned,—Aug. 24.
BATTLE OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN; American victory, Sept. 11.
BATTLE OF PLATTSBURG, N. Y.; Prevost, British, defeated
Ross defeated Americans at North Point, Md.; death of Ross,—Sept. 12.
BROOKS’ unsuccessful bombardment of Fort McHenry, Md.,—Sept. 13.
BRITISH bombarded Fort Boyer, Mobile Bay, without success,—Sept. 15.
SECOND BATTLE of Fort Erie; Brown dispersed besiegers,—Sept. 17.
JACKSON drove British from Pensacola, Fla.,—Nov. 7.
AMERICAN flotilla surrendered to the British, at Lake
CONVENTION at Hartford, Conn., opposed to the war,—Dec. 15.
BATTLE nine miles from New Orleans; Jackson retired
TREATY OF GHENT, Belgium (peace), signed,—Dec. 24.
1815. BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS, fourteen days after
BRITISH squadron captured the frigate President,
BRITISH Cyane and Levant captured by
off Madeira Islands,—Feb. 20.
WAR against Algiers declared by Congress,—March 3.
Hornet captured British brig Penguin,
1816. BANK OF UNITED STATES re-chartered for
capital, $35,000,000,—April 10.
INDIANA admitted into the Union,—Dec. 11.
1817. ALABAMA TERRITORY formed,—March 3.
JAMES MONROE inaugurated president; “era of good feeling,”—March 4.
SEMINOLES and Creeks began depredations in Georgia and Alabama.
MISSISSIPPI admitted into the Union,—Dec. 10.
1818. JACKSON seized Spanish forts in Florida.
JOINT occupation of Oregon by United States and Great
PENSACOLA, Fla., seized by Jackson; Spanish officials
ILLINOIS admitted into the Union,—Dec. 8.
1819. FLORIDA ceded to the United States by Spain,—Feb. 22.
ARKANSAS TERRITORY formed,—–July 4.
ALABAMA admitted into the Union,—Dec. 14.
1820. ACCESSION of George IV. to throne of Great
MISSOURI COMPROMISE ACT passed,—March 3.
MAINE admitted into the Union,—March 15.
1821. MEXICO became independent of Spain,—Feb. 24.
MONROE began second presidential term,—March 5.
MISSOURI admitted into the Union,—Aug. 10.
1823. FLORIDA TERRITORY formed,—March 3.
“MONROE DOCTRINE” enunciated in the annual message,—Dec. 2.
1824. LAFAYETTE visited the United States.—Aug. 15.