American Merchant Ships and Sailors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 320 pages of information about American Merchant Ships and Sailors.
to this importunity, Congress at one time paid a bounty of twenty-five dollars a head for all prisoners taken.  At other times it reduced the import duties on cargoes captured and landed by privateers.  Indeed, it is estimated by a careful student, that the losses to the Government in the way of direct expenditures and remission of revenues through the privateering system, amounted to a sum sufficient to have kept twenty sloops of war on the sea throughout the period of hostilities, and there is little doubt that such vessels could have actually accomplished more in the direction of harassing the enemy than the privateers.  A very grave objection to the privateering system, however, was the fact that the promise of profit to sailors engaged in it was so great, that all adventurous men flocked into the service, so that it became almost impossible to maintain our army or to man our ships.  I have already quoted George Washington’s objections to the practise during the Revolution.  During the War of 1812, some of our best frigates were compelled to sail half manned, while it is even declared that the loss of the “Chesapeake” to the “Shannon” was largely due to the fact that her crew were discontented and preparing, as their time of service was nearly up, to quit the Government service for privateering.  In a history of Marblehead, one of the famous old seafaring towns of Massachusetts, it is declared that of nine hundred men of that town who took part in the war, fifty-seven served in the army, one hundred and twenty entered the navy, while seven hundred and twenty-six shipped on the privateers.  These figures afford a fair indication of the way in which the regular branches of the service suffered by the competition of the system of legalized piracy.

**Transcriber’s Notes: 
Page 180:  Punctuation in diary normalized. 
Page 184:  change Washingon to Washington
Page 185:  changed dicover to discover
Page 186:  changed Portugese to Portuguese

CHAPTER VI.

THE ARCTIC TRAGEDY—­AMERICAN SAILORS IN THE FROZEN DEEP—­THE SEARCH
FOR SIR JOHN FRANKLIN—­REASONS FOR SEEKING THE NORTH POLE—­TESTIMONY OF
SCIENTISTS AND EXPLORERS—­PERTINACITY OF POLAR VOYAGERS—­DR. KANE AND DR.
HAYES—­CHARLES F. HALL, JOURNALIST AND EXPLORER—­MIRACULOUS ESCAPE OF His
PARTY—­THE ILL-FATED “JEANNETTE” EXPEDITION—­SUFFERING AND DEATH OF DE
LONG AND HIS COMPANIONS—­A PITIFUL DIARY—­THE GREELY EXPEDITION—­ITS
CAREFUL PLAN AND COMPLETE DISASTER—­RESCUE OF THE GREELY SURVIVORS—­PEARY,
WELLMAN, AND BALDWIN.

A chapter in the story of the American sailor, which, though begun full an hundred years ago, is not yet complete, is that which tells the narrative of the search for the North Pole.  It is a story of calm daring, of indomitable pertinacity, of patient endurance of the most cruel suffering, of heroic invitation to and acceptance of death.  The story will be completed only when the goal is won.  Even as these words are being written, American sailors are beleaguered in the frozen North, and others are preparing to follow them thither, so that the narrative here set forth must be accepted as only a partial story of a quest still being prosecuted.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
American Merchant Ships and Sailors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook