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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 320 pages of information about American Merchant Ships and Sailors.

No great moral evil can long continue when the attention of men has been called to it, and when their consciences, benumbed by habit, have been aroused to appreciation of the fact that it is an evil.  To be sure, we, with the accumulated knowledge of our ancestors and our minds filled with a horror which their teachings instilled, sometimes think that they were slow to awaken to the enormity of some evils they tolerated.  So perhaps our grandchildren may wonder that we endured, and even defended, present-day conditions, which to them will appear indefensible.  And so looking back on the long continuance of the slave-trade, we wonder that it could have made so pertinacious a fight for life.  We marvel, too, at the character of some of the men engaged in it in its earlier and more lawful days, forgetting that their minds had not been opened, that they regarded the negro as we regard a beeve.  If in some future super-refined state men should come to abstain from all animal food, perhaps the history of the Chicago stock-yards will be as appalling as is that of the Bight of Benin to-day, and that the name of Armour should be given to a great industrial school will seem as curious as to us it is inexplicable that the founder of Fanueil Hall should have dealt in human flesh.

It is, however, a chapter in the story of the American merchant sailor upon which none will wish to linger, and yet which can not be ignored.  In prosecuting the search for slaves and their markets he showed the qualities of daring, of fine seamanship, of pertinacity, which have characterized him in all his undertakings; but the brutality, the greed, the inhumanity inseparable from the slave-trade make the participation of Americans in it something not pleasant to enlarge upon.  It was, as I have said, not until the days of the Civil War blockade that the traffic was wholly destroyed.  As late as 1860 the yacht “Wanderer,” flying the New York Yacht Club’s flag, owned by a club member, and sailing under the auspices of a member of one of the foremost families of the South, made several trips, and profitable ones, as a slaver.  No armed vessel thought to overhaul a trim yacht, flying a private flag, and on her first trip her officers actually entertained at dinner the officers of a British cruiser watching for slavers on the African coast.  But her time came, and when in 1860 the slaver, Nathaniel Gordon, a citizen of Portland, Maine, was actually hanged as a pirate, the death-blow of the slave-trade was struck.  Thereafter the end came swiftly.

**Transcriber’s Note:  Page 91:  changed preeminance to preeminence

CHAPTER IV

THE WHALING INDUSTRY—­ITS EARLY DEVELOPMENT IN NEW ENGLAND—­KNOWN TO THE ANCIENTS—­SHORE WHALING—­BEGINNINGS OF THE DEEP-SEA FISHERIES—­THE PRIZES OF WHALING—­PIETY OF ITS EARLY PROMOTERS—­THE RIGHT WHALE AND THE CACHALOT—­A FLURRY—­SOME FIGHTING WHALES—­THE “ESSEX” AND THE “ANN ALEXANDER”—­TYPES OF WHALERS—­DECADENCE OF THE INDUSTRY—­EFFECT OF OUR NATIONAL WARS—­THE EMBARGO—­SOME STORIES OF WHALING LIFE.

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