Containing A faithful account of what took place when general Potter and his secretary crossed the line, and how he rode the flying horse.
Being ignorant of any rule compelling historians to give the names of such ships as convey their ambassadors to foreign lands, I have resolved that the omission in this instance shall be made up by the fancy of the reader, whom I feel in my heart will generously give me credit for what I have written, the truth whereof no man of common sense will doubt. A further motive for not naming the vessel on which this wonderful minister sailed is, that what took place on board might afford matter for one of those extremely fashionable episodes called Courts-Martial, and which are principally held at Washington for the entertainment of such aged members of the service as are fond of listening to, and sitting in judgment upon, the minute and circumstantial details of indiscreet conversations held among young gentlemen of the ward-room; and which, it must be confessed, reflects but little honor upon the service. But to the ship.
When the ship was many days’ sail from land, and affairs on board had passed pleasantly enough, the officers, one after another began to hold conversation with the general, and to flatter his vanity in various ways, styling him “Your Excellency,” and intimating that he must be perfect master of all great subjects. In truth, they soon discovered from the disjointed character of his discourse upon various subjects that his wits were deranged; for no matter what subject they introduced, he would mount his favorite hobby of taking care of the nation. But how a man could be an adept in politics and a simpleton in so many other things they could not clearly understand. They therefore came naturally enough to the conclusion that the government had set a trap to get rid of a gentleman with designs on the treasury, and caught a mouse instead of a minister. Nor were they less surprised with the singular relations existing between the general and his secretary, who had more than once declared to them that he had puzzled his wits in vain to get at the true quality of his master’s understanding. They therefore resolved among themselves to make him the subject of a little diversion. He had entertained them with accounts of the wonderful achievements of the Potter family, as also his own exploits in the Mexican war, at which they were all astonished and confounded.