The “Pedlar” then sailed to the southeast, and soon reached the coast of California, which she approached to get a supply of provisions. Nearing one of the harbors, they descried a vessel at anchor inside, showing American colors. Hauling their wind, they soon came close to the stranger, which, to their surprise, turned out to be the Spanish corvette “Santa Barbara,” which sent boats alongside the “Pedlar,” and captured her, and kept possession of the prize for some two months, during which they dropped down to San Blas. Here Mr. Hunt proposed to Mr. Seton to cross the continent and reach the United States the best way he could. Mr. Seton, accordingly, went to the Isthmus of Darien, where he was detained several months by sickness, but finally reached Carthagena, where a British fleet was lying in the roads, to take off the English merchants, who in consequence of the revolutionary movements going on, sought shelter under their own flag. Here Mr. Seton, reduced to the last stage of destitution and squalor, boldly applied to Captain Bentham, the commander of the squadron, who, finding him to be a gentleman, offered him every needful assistance, gave him a berth in his own cabin, and finally landed him safely on the Island of Jamaica, whence he, too, found his way to New York.
Of all those engaged in the expedition there are now but four survivors—Ramsay Crooks, Esq. the late President of the American Fur Company; Alfred Seton, Esq., Vice-president of the Sun Mutual Insurance Company; both of New York city; Benjamin Pillet of Canada; and the author, living also in New York. All the rest have paid the debt of nature, but their names are recorded in the foregoing pages.
Notwithstanding the illiberal remarks made by Captain Thorn on the persons who were on board the ill-fated Tonquin, and reproduced by Mr. Irving in his “Astoria”—these young men who were represented as “Bar keepers or Billiard markers, most of whom had fled from Justice, &c.”—I feel it a duty to say that they were for the most part, of good parentage, liberal education and every way were qualified to discharge the duties of their respective stations. The remarks on the general character of the voyageurs employed as boat-men and Mechanics, and the attempt to cast ridicule on their “Braggart and swaggering manners” come with a bad grace from the author of “Astoria,” when we consider that in that very work Mr. Irving is compelled to admit their indomitable energy, their fidelity to their employers, and their cheerfulness under the most trying circumstances in which men can be placed.
With respect to Captain Thorn, I must confess that though a stern commander and an irritable man, he paid the strictest attention to the health of his crew. His complaints of the squalid appearance of the Canadians and mechanics who were on board, can be abated of their force by giving a description of the accommodation of these people. The Tonquin was a small ship; its forecastle was destined for the