Ebenezer Beriah Kelly: Autobiography by Ebenezer Beriah Kelly Printed by John W. Stedman, Norwich, Connecticut, 1856.
[Chapter I]

I was born in the city of Norwich, Conn., in the year 1783. My father, whose name was Beriah, was a native of that part of Norwich now called Bozrah, and at the time of my birth was the only Methodist minister in that city. His wife, my mother, was named Elizabeth Bragg, and bore him ten children, of whom I was the youngest.

At the age of six years I was bound by the town to a Mr. U— F—, of Canterbury, who was engaged to give me, when I had served my time out, a score of sheep, a horse, a saddle, a bridle, two suits of clothes, and a Bible. Mr. F. was a very cruel man, and, abeing nearly always drunk, so treated me, that, had it not been for the kindness of neighbors, I should certainly have starved. I ran away from him several times on account of his cruelty, but he always pursued me and carried me back. At one time he tied me to the tail of an old mare, as a punishment for running home, and drove two miles with me thus tied, until, stopping at a tavern for a drink, in his absence several gentlemen passed by, and having inquired the reason and cause of my running away, loosed me, and then cut the hair from the horse's tail. page numbers skip from one to six They also gave me twelve coppers, at that time called “Bungtown coppers,” which taking, I bid farewell to horse and tavern and ran home. Here I related my story to my mother, who immediately repaired to the selectmen of Norwich, and, bringing them to the house, showed them the marks of the frequent floggings I had received from Mr. F—, who used to tie me by my two thumbs and thus whip me severely. They wrote to Mr. F— for his presence in Norwich, with my indentures.

I never returned to Canterbury, but after remaining a while at home, I went to live with a brother in Oxford. I was then in my thirteenth year. My brother was rather cross, and as I was tired of being treated unkindly, I soon returned home to my mother. I left her shortly, however, and went to Mr. B—, of Norwich, to learn the tailor's trade, but instead of learning a trade, I was kept scouring pots and kettles and mahogany, so that of all the time I was with him I worked but one day in the shop.

Once I saw Mr. B. place some pictures in a desk, and the next day, while digging in a part of the garden which had never been dug up before, I found a key which I though might fit the desk. I determined to try, and if it did, to possess myself of one of the pictures. The ensuing Sabbath, when all had gone to church, I tried the key. It fitted. I opened it, took one of the pictures, and to find what was on it—for I could not read—I showed it to one of the boys, who told me it was a dollar bill, and by carrying it to the bank I could get money for it. I took it to the bank, (then in “Kinney's tavern,”) and having received for it eight York shillings, secreted the money at home under a stone. The day after, while on an errand for Mrs. B—, I stepped into my father's house, when my mother informed me that I was accused by Mr. B— of stealing his money. As soon as possible I removed it from under the stone, threw the key into the river, and now, at the age of thirteen years and five months, commenced my pilgrim life, and with one dollar in my pocket as my only property, I made haste to leave Norwich.

The next day, while on my journey, I helped myself to a gun, and desiring to use it, I obtained powder and ball at Franklin—but the gun would not go off. I then returned to the store, where I met a man who asked me to exchange it for a double barreled one, and though I ought and meant to have returned it to its owner, the Evil One was too strong for me, and I made the exchange. My father was in Franklin, staying there for his health, and I was with him that night. In the morning, arising early, I went out to shoot, and met a brother coming. He asked me what I had done with the gun I borrowed. I told him it was at the store. He told our father of my conduct, and soon we all started for Norwich. When about half way to the store, and near the woods, I requested leave to get over the fence a minute, and taking advantage of a turn in the road which hid me from their view, I ran through the woods as fast as my feet could carry me. They speedily missed me, and from the woods I could see my brother go back along the road, and heard him call me, but I traveled on without heeding them. When tired I would lie by the wayside to rest, and thus ignorant of where I was or whither I was going, I walked two days till I reached a house, where I spent a night, and in the morning, having learned the direction of the Connecticut River, I went on. On the road I met a man, to whom I sold my gun for two Spanish dollars. I arrived at the river and crossed over to Middletown, where were lying a number of vessels, at the wharves and in the stream. While strolling around a man came out of a grog shop and accosted me, asking if I wished to go to sea. I replied “Yes,” and when he asked if I had ever been, I told an untruth, answering him that I had—to Demarara—a place I had heard a great deal about from sailors. He showed me the schooner lying in the river—told me that they wanted a cabin boy, and took me to a tavern where he paid my lodging, and bade me be on the wharf next morning. I was there—arising early after a night of sleeplessness, for I feared that my friends would come after me—and a boat came from the schooner which took me on board. The captain asked my name, birth-place, and whether I had run away, to which I replied correctly.

That day the schooner left for Baltimore. At nightfall, we entered the Sound. The sea was very high, and I was sea-sick. The vessel plunged and tossed. I was in the forechains, sick almost to death, with the sea washing and beating over me, till the captain took me, undressed me, and put me in a berth, where I found myself next morning nearly well. We had a long passage on account of head winds, but the captain and crew were very kind to me, and one o ld man in particular, who taught me to cook and curious things about sailing a ship. We lay in Baltimore two months. all the crew but myself being paid off, left the schooner, and I remained, not knowing what to do next.

One day the captain said to me, “Ed, (so they called me,) do you want to go to the West Indies?” “Yes,” said I, “I'll go where you go.”

“Well,” said he, “you have been with me over two months; I shall allow you six dollars a month for it, and lay out the money for you in clothes, and buy you a little chest—after this I will give you twelve dollars.” When I heard, also, that the same old crew were shipped for the voyage, I was very happy, for I knew them and liked them all very much for their goodness to me. After they came on board we all signed the articles—I making my mark. The captain took me to the Custom House and got me my protection papers, the object of which was to preserve me from impressment in foreign countries, by declaring me an American. These papers were absolutely necessary in those days, for such was the scarcity of men for army and navy service in Europe, that every sailor, unless provided with these papers, was almost certain to be pressed and kept as good as prisoner for years, perhaps. They described the person, name, residence, &c, and are cherished by the sailor as his title to his freedom, and, therefore, as his most valuable property. Thus provided, I sailed with the vessel for Guadaloupe on the 17th of October, 1796.

After a passage of about twenty days we made Point Peter's harbor, where we discharged our cargo and took in one of molasses and sugar. Here we remained three weeks, and then hauled to the other side of the island to Basseterre, but could obtain no freight; thence to an English island Montserrat, where we filled up and left for Baltimore. Arriving there Dec. 27th, we were paid off and discharged, the captain finding me a boarding house at Felch Point; but I, soon wearying of nothing to do, shipped with him again for the same place. We sailed Jan. 13th, 1797. Two days after leaving the Virginia capes we had a terrible gale, which broke off our fore gaff. I was washed overboard with two others, but laying hold of the fore halliards, which they threw to us, we were all drawn on board. The schooner then hove to, repaired damages, and the next morning made Point Peter's harbor once more. Here we received our usual cargo of molasses, sugar, &c., and again returned to Baltimore. The crew were all paid off, I among the number, and thus I bade farewell to the first vessel that bore me on the sea.

After this I made one cruise on the “Hornet,” schooner, to Jeremie, W.I., receiving twenty-five dollars per month, and then shipped on the “Polly,” for London. We made a thirty-five day passage from the cape, and having discharged in the Thames River, not far from the London Bridge, hauled into Limehouse dock and coppered. We took back to Baltimore a cargo of cutlery and dry goods, arriving in the United States Jan. 25th.

At this time I was taken down with the small-pox, and for seven weeks was completely blind, suffering greatly. I was confined five months, and for a long time my recovery was extremely doubtful—but the kind treatment I received at my boarding house saved me. The Custom House allowed me one dollar and a half per week. This was in accordance with the usual practice by which seamen, when in port, if ill or destitute, are always provided for, unless through the negligence of villainy of those to whom such business is entrusted. When a vessel is cleared from the Customs office, she pays so much per head “Hospital money,” and thus is procured a fund, from which is supplied to sailors the means of subsistence in any port where there is a consul. How well these officers sometimes discharge their duties will be seen in the following pages.

When I recovered I coasted for sometime, until the French ships frightened us off, though we began again at their departure in Jan., 1798. This was at first between Baltimore and New York, on the “Sea Lion,” schooner, Capt. Butler.

[Chapter II]

The frigate Constellation was now building at Baltimore, under the superintendence of Commodore Truxton. I was present at the launching in HarrisCreek sic, when a number of small boats were overset and their men drowned. She was rigged immediately and received her supplies. The Commodore beat up for volunteers, and in three days had a complement of men shipped, among whom I was numbered. We set sail in pursuit of the French frigate, and when in the latitude of New York fell in with a Swedish vessel, who informed us that they saw the French on the previous day steering for the West Indies. We put chase under full canvass, and on the ninth day after overhauled a fisherman, of whom we learned that she had sailed for Guadaloupe. We ran down between the “Saints” and Guadaloupe, close to Basseterre harbor, but not finding her there, we bore off for Nevis Island, and discovered her lying in Kitts, a neutral port. We came in alongside, and after a little stay ran out again, and waiting outside, to the northward, and out of sight of the Island, she soon came out, on her way to France. Then we shot in between her and the Island, and thus cutting off all chance of escape, brought her to action.

When we had cleared for the night, and properly hauled our sails, we bore down up on her. She fired first, opening with a whole broadside, which we returned. The action continued two hours and twenty minutes, when the enemy hauled down her colors and became our prize. She proved to be “L'Insurgente,” mounting 38 guns and carrying 350 men; and this victory over a superior force—for the Constellation mounted but 36 guns and carried only 250 men—considerably elated us, notwithstanding our losses of 12 killed and 25 wounded. Their loss was over 100.

In this conflict Lieutenant Rodgers showed himself a man of the most intrepid courage, and I cannot believe him guilty of the cowardice with which he has since, in the war of 1812, been charged. The prisoners on board “L'Insurgente” were removed to our vessel, a crew put on board, and she ordered to Philadelphia; but peach having been made, she was sent to France. She never reached there, or was at all afterwards heard of.

Upon the arrival of the Constellation at Philadelphia we were paid off and returned to Baltimore, where we enjoyed ourselves greatly, riding about in carriages, and rejoicing over the victory in many ways, until the latter part of June.

I then shipped on the brig “America,” Capt. Denison, for London. We had a safe passage, but on the voyage I became completely disgusted with the captain. He was always cursing and swearing and knocking the sailors around, just as his whims prompted him. We anchored at Limehouse Hole, the highest place on the river Thames that foreign vessels could then go. On Sunday all hands asked leave to go on shore, but were refused. An hour afterwards the captain went, accompanied by one man and a boy. As soon as he was gone we all went below and packed up our clothes—ready for a start. We hailed a wherry lying at London dock, brought it alongside, and began to get in. The mate came up and inquired what we were about. W told him we were all going ashore. He said he did not blame us, for he knew it would be useless to try to prevent it. On the wharf we hired a man to carry our things to a public house, and spent the day cruising around the city of London, seeing nothing but a crowd of people. The next day we separated, looking for situations on vessels.

I made my way to a part of the city now called “Irish-town,” then “Poplar,” and passing through an apple-orchard, around which was no fence, I began to help myself, the more readily as I saw at a little distance other boys gathering the fruit. In a few moments they ran away, and I began to suspect something was wrong. Looking, I perceived a man with tight breeches and white stockings coming toward me. I took the alarm, and made my way through a dirty goose-pond, thinking he would not follow, but he did, and when he had overhauled me carried me off through a wicket gate into a large house. Dirty, covered with mud and water as I was, he led me into a beautiful parlor. He accused me of having been there before, and threatened to make me pay for all I had taken then and at previous times. I denied the charge, told him I was an American, and had just come into port. He would not believe me, but book me into the street, and was about punishing me, when some women called me, pulled me into their house and passed me along from yard to yard, till I was near “Blackwall.” Thus I escaped.

Seeing a ship lying off Blackwekk stairs, on inquiry, I found it to be the “Hillsborough,” bound for Botany Bay with convicts. A waterman carried me aboard, and after applying to the captain, I shipped with him for 3£ 10 shillings a month, or about $17,50 sic of our money. They gave me two months pay in advance. Monday I went to the hotel for my things, by night, fearing that in the daytime the people in “Poplar” might seize me and on Tuesday went on board the ship, where I worked until we were ready for sea. We dropped down to Portsmouth to take in more convicts, and on the 20th of February started with the convoy, sloop-of-war “Bulldog.”

According to law, when the prisoners behaved themselves, they were single-ironed and allowed to go on deck in gangs. Part in the forenoon and part in the afternoon were brought up and chained to a large chain which ran from mast to mast; they looked very much like a string of beads.

When we were on the edge of the Bay of Biscay a severe gale of wind arose, which lasted six days. During this gale, as we soon afterwards learned, the convicts planned the capture of the vessel and their own release. There was one among their number—Holmes, by name—an educated man, who, on account of his pedigree, was permitted to walk the deck. He was entrusted with the formation of their plans, and one day, when they were complete and all written down, he handed the paper to the captain. The captain called all hands aft, and then shutting down the hatches, read us the paper. The convicts had already succeeded in removing their irons. They were to kill the captain, and wash their hands in his blood; the first and second mates, with such of the crew as were unwilling to assist in taking the vessel into France, were to walk the plank; the third mate alone was to receive no injury. The time agreed on for the execution of this plan was the next morning at breakfast hour.

The captain, desirous to see whether Holmes had deceived him, determined to take no immediate steps in the affair, except to arm all hands with a brace of pistols and a cutlass. Thus prepared, we took our station next morning behind the hatchways. Clark, the steward, opened them to go down and serve out the “bergoo,” a kind of food resembling our hasty pudding. At that instant the prisoners rushed up the hatchway, and the crew fired upon them, killing two and wounding several more, when the remainder retreated. We locked the gratings forward, and the captain calling us aft told us that he should not give the convicts a mouthful to eat until they were all brought on deck, ironed and flogged, hinting at the same time that some would be hanged.

The carpenter was sent down to read the ship's articles to them. By these, power was given to the captain to hang them all or sink them with the vessel. Clark, the steward, before mentioned, went to call up the first mess—for the convicts were divided into messes—but none of them would come. After waiting ten minutes the steward again went, with orders to fire among them. He immediately came back, saying it was useless to fire, as they had barricaded the place with beds and mattresses. At this time the gale having somewhat abated, we signaled for the “Bull-dog,” sloop-of-war, our convoy. She bore down upon us, and, after learning the state of our vessel, commanded us to fire a shot through her bottom. A boatsman went below to tell the convicts what we were going to do, and give them a final warning, but they did not move until they heard the 9 pounder rolling over the deck. Then they starated, and we got possession of them all. We were eight days flogging, ironing and packing them again. Some received fifty, some three hundred, and one man five hundred, lashes, instead of hanging, as the captain had threatened.

About latitude 18° N. the ships parted company. We sailed on regularly, and in the fore part of March arrived at the isle of Myo, on the African coast, where we took in fresh provisions. From here to the Cape of Good Hope we had a long and boisterous passage. Once the vessel sprung and leaked so badly that we had hard work to keep her free.

The last of April we anchored in Table Bay with sickness raging amongst the prisoners. May 13th the flagstaff on “Lion's Rump” was struck, and we sailed for False Bay—a three weeks' voyage. There we buried eighty-nine convicts. From hence to Botany Bay we encountered many severe gales, in one of which the man at the wheel was thrown under it by a wave, and the spokes passing through his body, killed him instantly. The vessel still leaked badly, and it was ten months from the time we left London till our arrival in Sydney. The irons were knocked off the convicts, they were sent ashore, and we were paid off.

We lay at Sydney three weeks, caulked the ship, and sailed for Desolation Island after elephant oil. The fourth day out we encountered a heavy gale, sprung a leak, and only by keeping all hands at the pumps could we float, till we were able to get back to Sydney. I ran away from the ship at Sydney, and remained several weeks secreted at Barramatta, working for an old Irishman who kept a distillery under ground. Then I went again to Sydney, wheeling wood for a baker, where I saw, much of the convicts, and learned a great deal about their labors and sufferings.

[Chapter III]

While here, a cast of almost miraculous preservation occurred. There were two farmers—once convicts, but then reformed, and considered good men—who borrowed fifty dollars of a clergyman, promising to pay the same in a few weeks. A day or two after they requested him to call at their house and receive his money. As he entered the gate one of the farmers stood there with an axe in his hand, but did not molest him, though evidently stationed there with that intention. When he entered the house, however, the other stabbed him with a carving-knife, and his wife cut out his tongue. They threw the body into a saw-pit half filled with underbrush, where a gipsey kept his hoe, pick-axe, and other tools. When the gipsey came for his pick-axe he pulled up with it a man's leg, and the farmers, who were watching, immediately seized him and carried him to the authorities, accusing him of murder. He was tried, and though innocent, condemned to be executed instantly. When first swung off, the rope broke. The sheriff ordered it to be doubled, but this time the noose slipped over his head, and he fell to the ground. Greatly astonished, the sheriff carried him back to prison and informed the governor of the event. A few days after, while several little boys were playing near the barracks, one cried out, “Cut his tongue out, as mother did the parson's!” The soldiers, overhearing this, questioned the boy, who told the whole story, and caused the arrest of the true murderers. The farmers were tried, condemned, and hung, and the farmer's wife hung and quartered.

An American vessel came into port one day with colors flying. She was the “Resource,” of Providence. Every vessel, on coming into Sydney, is obliged to receive on board a corporal and six soldiers for preventing the escape of convicts, and in order for any one to enter the ship a pass is necessary. I procured one from the Sergeant of the Rangers, whom I knew, and with this was admitted. Capt. McGee, the owner, expressed his willingness that Capt. Mitchell, the commander, should give me a passage to Canton, China. We took in a load of mahogany and started away the 3d of December—the Governor's birth-day—with a guard of soldiers, who left us when well out to sea. After their departure convicts began to make their appearance, and we found that no less than 21 had contrived to escape, notwithstanding the vigilance of the soldiers. Some dispute arose whether or no we should carry them back, but it was decided to keep them, and in case of fight to make use of their services. Fourteen days out of Sydney we made an island, overhauled our charts without finding it or any in that neighborhood, ran in, and came to within a mile of the shore. Then we could see the natives by hundreds—naked, and all men—gathered round under the cocoanut trees, which covered the island. We manned two large six-oar boats, with six loaded muskets in each, and pulled in toward the shore, till we brought up on a reef, which ran, apparently, all round the island. The natives swam out and threw cocoanuts at us, trying to entice us ashore, but when it was found impossible to effect a landing, and the boats began to return, a shower of spears was sent by them. This we returned with balls, and saw one or two drop dead, and the remainder take to the bushes. At sunset, after we were again under way, we perceived a large fire on the island, and through the glass discovered that it was the burning of their slain comrades, around which they were dancing wildly with incessant howls and screeches. When three miles away, we fired a gun ashore, which frightened them back into the woods. Dec. 22nd we made soundings in 20 fathoms water, and ran on four days with from fifteen to twenty fathom, and after that, for a week, with about seven fathoms. Jan. 3d, 1800, we anchored at Whampoa town.

Not being willing to work for such wages as were offered me on the “Resource,” I called a boat and went ashore. There were some Englishmen there, blacksmithing in a tent, and I asked what ship they were working for. They answered, the “Connecticut,” and told me I could get a place aboard of her. She lay off in the stream. I hailed her, and they sent a boat, which took me on board. I found the mate on deck, who inquired who I was, where I came from, and what I wanted; to all these I answered correctly. He set me to work, but would make no agreement with me till the captain came aboard from Canton. On this ship I found three old shipmates of the “Hillsborough,” who, like myself, had run away. They called me the “little Yankee.”

When I had been at work about four days, the mate, Heavysides, called me to him, and said, “Seeing you are a pretty smart chap, I shall make you captain of the after guard and give you able seaman's wages, 2£ 10s a month.” This was in my seventeenth year.

We lay at Whampoa, taking in tea, till the 2d of February, and then set sail for England. We saw no land until we made the Isle of France, and after that none till April 24th, when we anchored in St. Helena. After remaining at St. Helena ten days, receiving fresh water and provisions, we cleared again, and arrived in sight of Lands End, nine weeks from St. Helena. At Downs we lay during one day, and then proceeded up the river to “Long-Reach.”

I staid aboard the “Connecticut” with mate Heavysides for three weeks, on river pay. At London we made fast at “Blackwall,” and I went with Heavysides to the East India House in a “Mile End” coach, where we received our pay, and I bade the mate “Good bye.” I took a stage for “Ratcliff Highway,” in the suburbs of London, and procured quarters in a boarding house. Here I remained four weeks, during which time I contrived to waste all my money—about $140—and then went on a cruise after employment. For three or four days I was unsuccessful, but at last met an old Jew, who wanted me to ship on an East Indiaman. I told him I could ship myself as well, and proceeded to the East India House, where I found that a fleet of ships was preparing for Bombay and China, one of which was to be commanded by my old friend, Heavysides. I met him at the “Jerusalem Coffee House,” a great resort for Yankee sailors, and told him I did not care where I went to, but would like to ship with him. We closed at once, and I became quarter-master of the “Elphastern,” at 3£ a month wages, and 5£ bounty money.

I paid my landlord, went up to Billingsgate and took a little boat, which carried me aboard the ship, where I worked till about the 1st of February, 1801; then we dropped down to the “lower hope.” Next day the crew came down, and the clerk, to pay advance and bounty. I got two months advance, and spent that night with the rest of the crew, drinking and gambling, when I won over one hundred and fifty dollars. This was the first time I recollect of ever gambling.

[Chapter IV]

On the 6th of February we set sail for the East Indies, stopping at Portsmouth two days for a convoy, and on the 11th our fleet of five ships, with one man-of-war, being all in readiness, we bade adieu once more to old England.

After twenty-one days we hove to off Madeira for wine and provisions, and then proceeded on our voyage without farther event worthy of record, till we arrived in Table Bay, about the middle of May. Here we remained three days, and then started for Bombay. Five hundred miles north of the Isle of France our convoy left us, and on the 21st of July we made soundings in twenty-seven fathoms of water, 300 miles from Bombay, which gradually decreased to eight fathoms, and so continued until we discovered land.

We all moored in Bombay, and our ship having remained eight weeks, taking in 13,000 bales of cotton, and a hundred tons of pearl oyster shells, we embarked for China. We made the Straits of Malacca after a pleasant run, and anchored in Pula-Pinang, where we received a freight of dragon's blood and rattan, and then steered for Canton. The next land we saw was the Ladroon Islands, whose inhabitants are Chinese convicts. The Chinese offered McGee a factory in Canton for fifteen years, if he would subdue these Ladroons, who were accustomed to plunder all vessels that came near them. McGee accepted the offer, procured an armed ship from Providence, and conquered the convicts. He lived and died in Canton, and during his life was the only foreigner allowed to remain there throughout the year.

We came to anchor again at Whampoa, and began discharging our cargo off Junk River. This was done entirely by means of junks, which answered for lighters, and occupied nearly six weeks. When unloaded the crew had to leave to go to Canton, half and half, on three days' liberty. The streets in Canton are named, from the business carried on in them, as “Shoe Lane,” where their shoes and boots are made, and are so narrow that a man can easily stride across them. Of course they have no horses or wagons, but carry their burdens or each other above their heads. In their market place, situated in “Hog Lane,” pork and strings of cats are numerous—and these are not the only strange things we saw.

Two of our men engaged a man to carry them across a creek in his boat for two dollars, but when the Chinaman had them on board he threatened to capsize them unless they paid him more. This they refused to do, and the boatman was about to fulfill his threat, when they laid hold of him and gave him a good pounding. A junk fired upon them, and a mandarin boat came and took them off to prison, so that, if the man whom they had beaten died, one of them might be executed according to the Chinese law of “an eye for an eye,” “life for life.”

On our return to the ship we began taking in teas, and when we were all ready for sea, the Chinaman having recovered, our two men were released and brought on board. They were as weak as cats, and looked like skeletons—good evidence that their mode of treating prisoners is not preferable to that of some other countries.

While we were lying here, a Chinaman—John Tuck by name—came down to measure our ship and see how much she could carry. As all their vessels have two eyes painted on their bows, he was much surprised to find ours without them, and exclaimed, “Hi! yah! how English ship see? not have no eye.” His boat, in which he came off to us, was an elegant craft, sculled by women, and everything cleared from before its path, for he had a gallows on board to hang all those who did not get out of his way, and his generosity was displayed by the presents he made to all who showed him honor.

We spent Christmas in revelry, and on the 26th of Dec. started for England. We ran under a stiff breeze to Singapore, remained there several days, and left for the Straits of Sunda. Here we encountered a severe gale, and, though we weathered it in safety, one of our fleet lost all her spars, and we were by this delayed at Java-head, near Batavia, some time longer, before we were able fairly to set sail for St. Helena, where, however, we finally arrived after a pleasant passage.

Seven weeks we spent in St. Helena waiting for convoy, and at last joined the Bengal and Madras fleet with convoy “Menelaus,” under the command of Lord Elphastern Flaming.

One day, as the “Menelaus” was taking in provisions, a quarter of beef accidentally fell overboard. The commander, much enraged, called up the steward, had his head partly shaved, and gave him three dozen lashes. His first lieutenant, Sir John Singleton, highly indignant at this outrage, went to Lord D'Courcy, commander of the “Plantagenet,” then in port, gave up his commission, and requested leave to return to England in a whaler about to sail, and to take the steward with him—which was granted.

We left St. Helena January 20th, 1802—more than a year after our departure from Canton—and made “Downs” on the 13th of March, arriving at “Long-Reach” four days after. The vessel was anchored, and we received our pay. I remained on board till we were all unloaded, and the ship hauling into Greenland Docks, I left her and went back to my old boarding place in Ratcliff Highway. I had at this time 46£, or $230, which lasted me but six weeks, nearly the whole being spent in carousing and other such like foolish ways.

[Chapter V]

About the 6th of July, hearing of a vessel that wanted hands, I crossed London Bridge to her moorings, but on inquiry found I was too late—her complement being made up. Returning home I passed over Tower Hill, and met a press-gang of four or five men, with an officer, who stopped me and demanded,

“Who are you?”

“A man,” I replied.

‘Where are you going?” was the next question.

“Where I think best,” was my answer.

His Majesty wants men, and you must come with us,” said the officer open quote missing in text.

I refused to go, declaring that I was an American, and produced my protection papers from a tin box, where I always carried them, but the officer taking them to the rendezvous, and, an hour afterward, aboard the tender.

The next day I was placed on a royal cutter, and the third day after transferred to the gun brig. “Nattey,” 16 guns. We got away immediately and dropped down the channel as far as Portsmouth, where we lay several days awaiting orders from the Lord High Admiral. When these came we started for the West Indies.

At Madeira we touched for grapes and wine for cabin use, and running down past Guadaloupe and the Saints, steered into Antigua.

Our business was to cruise among these islands and protect English ships, seizing any French or Spanish vessels that came in our way. This we did about three months, and then hauled into port for provisions and repairs. While here, dispatches came from the Admiral, who was at the Saints, and we immediately got under way for the purpose of carrying them. About midnight, the first night, we suddenly brought up and found ourselves on a coral reef.

We landed our sick and provisions, threw overboard our guns, having first attached buoys to them, and for all the next day and night worked constantly at the pumps. On the morning of the second day the King's lighter, with provisions for the “Saints,” came up, by whose help we got off, and taking on our guns, with all else that had been carried away, we put back into “English Harbor.”

In the transportation of our goods from shore to ship we were assisted by the negroes with their canoes. One of these, having got a barrel of flour into his boat, paddled briskly off to a point of land where the bushes grew very thickly. The sailors shouted after him, but without effect, and then fired, but he was beyond their reach. At last we went a boat for him, and although we found the canoe, the negro and the flour were never seen. It was lucky that he did thus escape, for he would have received nothing for all the work he had done.

At the “Harbor” our vessel was condemned, and the crew all drafted into the “Lightning,” gun ship, which sailed the next day for a cruise, with us on board. While sailing in Point Peter's bay, a flag of truce came off, bearing a challenge from the captain of a French ship of 28 guns, the “Gen. Renute,” to our commander, Moses Doyle. It was accepted, and the acceptance welcomed by the crew with three cheers.

Next morning we hauled off a few miles from land, and waited till the Frenchman came out. When she was within two miles, we hauled up our courses and all hands lay down to quarters. My station was with five others, all fully armed, in the main-top. The captain called out,

“Lay close to the deck and hold your fire until we are right on to them.”

With all sail set they came nearing us, and when within half a mile, hauled up their courses, rounded to, and gave us a full broadside of round and grape. We brought our starboard guns to bear upon her, and as she tacked, while in stays, opened on her, raking her fore and aft, and cutting up her rigging tremendously. She gave us another broadside, which we returned immediately, and it then was broadside for broadside for about twenty minutes, when we ran under her quarter and fired again, bringing down her colors. At this juncture the English brig “Emerant” came up and carried off our prize to the nearest British port. Her loss included the captain, two lieutenants, 26 killed and 45 wounded. Ours was 12 killed and 24 wounded—their crew outnumbering ours by 80 men. The French officers who were slain were carried ashore for burial, the bodies of the men being disposed of in the usual summary manner.

We sailed back into Antigua, and as we entered the harbor, carrying the English flag over the French, the fort welcomed us with a salute. Discovering that peace had been declared, and our vessel having several shot holes through her, we were drafted into the 74 line-of-battle-ship. “Dragon,” with orders to proceed to England, where we arrived in February, 1803.

On the voyage two men were knocked off the main-top-gallant-yard. One lived only about ten minuted, but the other received no injury. The former was sown up in his hammock, with several shot tied to his feet, and then thrown overboard. The latter was pensioned at the rate of 18£ a year.

Arriving at Portsmouth, we found that, instead of peace, there was merely a cessation of hostilities; so, taking in provisions, we set out on a three months cruise in the North seas, returning to England in August.

The frigate “Amphion” was waiting for men, and one hundred of us, including myself, were sent to her. Her destination was round Cape Horn, to lie off Chili and Peru. We doubled the Horn in December, capturing on the way two valuable Spanish vessels, which we manned and sent to Rio Janeiro for a convoy.

On the 3d of January we fell in and a French frigate, mounting 42 guns, two more than we carried, off the coast of Chili, and both vessels immediately cleared for action. At half a mile distance from her we gave her a broadside, and the two ships kept up a close fight with broadsides, drawing nearer together all the time, for almost two hours and a half, when the wind died away, rendering it impossible to work the vessels. We kept up our fire, however, all the time, though with little apparent execution.

There was one man on board, named Joskins, who turned away his head every time he fired his gun. The captain, going up to him, took him by the shoulder and whirling him round, said to him, “Look, man, see who you are firing at.”

Just then a ball passed through Joskins' body, and dislocated the captain's arm. The captain went below to repair his damage, but soon returned on deck and ordered “All boarders away!”

Four boats were instantly lowered and manned with men, armed to the teeth with swords, pistols, tomahawks and guns. We went up at the same moment to the enemy, in four different places, on both bows and quarters, and thus threw them into great confusion. The Frenchmen, by this time, had their boarding nettings up all around, as high as the cat-harpings. We cut these away with our cutlasses and drew ourselves on board with our tomahawks. I succeeded in reaching the gunwale of the vessel, when I was struck three times with a hatchet, once on the left foot and twice on the right, and then received a gash on my hand with a sword. I fired a pistol at the man who wounded me with the sword, and at that instant a boarding-pike passed through me, at the groin, and I fell back into the boat, breaking off the pike by the weight of my body.

Our crew were soon on board, and in ten minutes had carried the vessel.

On our return to the frigate the surgeon dressed my wounds, telling me that my recovery was impossible, and I had better make my peace at once. I did not despair, but kept up a good heart.

Our losses were 40 killed and 72 wounded. The French lost 98 killed and 60 wounded. Both vessels were very much weakened, being completely riddled. The prize had forty shot above the water's edge, so we took her in tow and sailed for Rio. There we got fresh provisions and more men and ran up to Halifax, where I was carried into the Navy Hospital, while the ship went on her way. Here I lay twenty-three weeks on my back, suffering greatly all the time. I received every attention. My appetite was very good, and besides all other victuals, I was allowed a bottle of port wine, and as much London Porter as I could drink, every day.

[Chapter VI]

The latter part of August, having recovered, contrary to the prediction of the “Amphibion's” surgeon, I joined the English frigate “Yolus,” on which were also sent all those who were then ready to be dismissed from the Hospital, and after a few months' cruise of Grand Bank we left for England. The “Yolus” was laid up, and all hands stored in the receiving ship “Trinidad,” at Sheerness. May 17th, 1805, a draft of one hundred men was made for the “Royal Charlotte,” one of Lord Nelson's fleet.

We went from Sheerness to Plymouth and lay there till June, when we, numbering 27 sail of the line and two repeating frigates, 29 in all, were collected together, ready for sea. On the 20th Lord Nelson came on board the flag-ship, and the signal being given, we got under way and ran toward the Western Islands under easy sail, looking out for the combined fleet of France and Spain.

We spoke several vessels, but hearing nothing of the object of our search, on the 4th of August the Admiral gave signal to tack ship and steer for Spain. The repeating frigates were ordered to go, one North, the other South, lest the enemy should pass us, and thus we sailed about till the last of September, when we gained intelligence of their position. We immediately put chase, and on the 20th of October discovered them near Trafalgar—the land being plainly in sight. At 2 P. M. the same day, we were drawing toward each other, distant about four miles. At a signal from the Admiral we formed a straight line, and the enemy did the same; but Lord Nelson, perceiving that this arrangement gave them the advantage, ordered us to draw off and form into two half-moons, giving the enemy the centre. We lay off from the enemy all night, and next morning we were six miles apart, they being on our lee. The Admiral signaled to Lord Collingwood to run to the leeward of the French with his half-moon of ships, which he effected about 11 o'clock, and the enemy then lay between the two divisions, about a mile and a half from each. Our fleet then drew in closer and closer to each other—encompassing the enemy. At an order from Lord Nelson, three of the ships—the “Superb,” 74, the “Renown,” 74, and the “Royal Charlotte,” 98—bore down to break up the line of the hostile fleet, and as we struck them, the whole number, theirs and our own, commenced the fight. The “Royal Charlotte,” our vessel, ran in between two French ships of 80 guns and received broadsides from both, which knocked six port-holes into one, dismounting all the guns, killing 130 men and wounding 430. We returned the fire with hearty good will, but their second broadside cut away our masts and bowsprit. I was in the main-top, and had just time to reach the deck when the whole rigging came down. Now we waded in a perfect sea of blood!

The Admiral sent in a repeating frigate to tow us out. The “Superb” managed to keep in the action, but the “Renown” sank beneath their fire, though all the living men were rescued.

About half-past one Lord Nelson received his mortal wound. Before his death he made this signal:

“England expects every man to do his duty.”

He was rather tyrannical in the government of his men, and only half an hour before this battle had punished two of them severely for some trifling misdemeanor, but he lived and died a hero. He was shot by one of his own crew, on his own ship, for the manner in which the ball struck him made it evident that it was never fired from another.

At half-past two the thundering of cannon ceased, the clouds of smoke rolled away, and the battle of Trafalgar was over. Our number of ships was 27, as before mentioned; the enemy's was 32—five more than ours—but notwithstanding their superiority in numbers, our victory was complete.

After the action there arose a heavy gale of wind, which drove some of our vessels ashore. Five of the prizes were also wrecked, and four escaped. The gale was very severe, and lasted twelve hours. We were scarcely able to rig jury-masts to save ourselves, but finally, with the above exception, weathered the storm and made sail for England. On the voyage five of the prizes sunk, making a loss of 14 vessels from the captured fleet.

The “Royal Charlotte” was condemned shortly after our arrival, and I again became an inmate of a receiving ship, where I lay till the 14th of March, 1806. I was then sent to Plymouth aboard the “Queen,” of 98 guns, and on the 6th day of May 17 of the line got under way, under orders for the West Indies, in pursuit of a Spanish fleet. July 9th we made the island of Barbadoes, the most eastern of the group, and lay in that harbor two days. On the 11th we ran down the channel, close into Porto Rico, to reconnoitre, but seeing nothing, bore away and passed on to Cape Nickerlins, where we remained at anchor until the last of August, rowing a guard of two boats around the ship every night to prevent night attacks.

I had always expressed my intention never to row guard, let the consequences be what they might; and when it came my turn and my name was called, I went on deck and asked if that was my name. Lt. Shannon said it was. I answered that I was unable to go. On his inquiring the reason, I told him I was sick. “Why,” said he, “you have been in the boat all day; have you been to the doctor?” I answered, “No.” Just then the boatswain piped all hands to supper, and I went down. The pint of grog we always had, on this occasion nerved me up and made me feel better, so that, when the roll was called to man the boats, I remained below till it had been read twice, when, fearing lest the boatswain or his mates would be whipping me up, I went on deck. When I got in the gangway, Shannon asked me what I was not in the boat. I told him I had always done my duty since I had been in the service—had fought in three severe actions—but as to fighting against my own country and my countrymen, that I never could, and never would do.

He raised his fist and struck me in the face, knocking me against the hammock nettings, and calling me “a damned Yankee,” ordered me into the boat. I returned his epithet and blows with interest, and rolled him down into the waist of the ship. A sergeant's guard immediately took me below and chained me to the deck.

Two days after I was called up to take hold of a rope to hang two men who had been guilty of the same crime as myself. One was hung to a one yard-arm and one to the other, as a sort of example to me of the fate I merited.

I remained in close confinement till the 2d of September. At 8 o'clock A. M. a gun was fired and signal made for a general court-martial. The master-at-arms came to me and bade me prepare for trial. Lt. Shannon, the man I struck, but who showed himself my friend throughout, informed me that I had a right to object to any two sitting in the court. I told him I did not know any of them. He advised me to reject the Judge Advocate and one other, whose name I have forgotten. When called into court and asked by the President whether I objected to any there, I mentioned these two, and they were ordered to withdraw. Being asked whom I could choose in their places, I said I had as yet chosen no one. He gave me till next morning to decide, and I was remanded to prison. During the day, at the advice of Lt. Shannon, I selected Dr. Sconce and Lt. Parker, of the “Renown.”

I sent my guard to inform the officer of the deck whom I had chosen, and accordingly the “Renown” was signaled, and the Doctor came on board. I told him everything relating to the case—that I was an American, and my reasons for acting as I had done. He asked if there were any more Americans on board, and learning that there were upwards of forty, inquired if any of them had known me in the United States. I mentioned two, who had been acquainted with me ever since I first went to sea. Then he said,

“If these men are allowed their oaths they can save your life.”

[Chapter VII]

The next morning, at 9 o'clock, I was called into court again. The crime and its consequences were then read, and I was asked what I had to say for myself. I replied that I had always done my duty under all circumstances—that I had been in three heavy actions in which I had received several wounds; that I was a pressed man, and though, when pressed, I offered my protection paper, it was torn up before my face, and I, in spite of it, forced into the British Navy.

To this the court answered that they had no proof of my citizenship in America. Dr. Sconce said they had proof, and the President, having inquired into the character of the two men I had known, and receiving from the captain a high recommendation of their honesty and obedience, commanded them to be summoned. One of these was the first quarter-master, and the other the first gunner's mate, and being placed upon the witness-stand, testified as follows:

President.—“Are you an American?”

Quarter-Master.—“Yes, Sir.”

P.—“How long have you been in the service?”

Q. M.—“Almost eight years.”

P.—“Do you know the prisoner?”

Q. M.—“Yes, Sir.”

P.—“Do you know him to be an American?”

Q. M.—“I do, Sir.”

P.—“Where did you first know him?”

Q. M.—“In Baltimore, when he was a boy between 12 and 13. I shipped on the schooner ‘Fox,’ of Hartford, Capt. Mitchell, with him.”

The President then asked me,

“How long have you been to sea?”

“Since the 1st of August, 1796.”

President to Quarter-Master:

“Where did you go when shipped with the prisoner?”

Q. M.—“To Guadaloupe.”

P.—“How long was you with him?”

Q. M.—“About four months.”

P.—“Where did you see him next?”

Q. M.—“About two years after in China.”

P.—“What was he in?”

Q. M.—“The ‘Resource,’ of Providence.”

P.—“What was you in?”

Q. M.—“An English East Indiaman.”

P.—“Did you ever see him after this?”

Q. M.—“Yes, Sir; I saw him about four years after on board the ‘Dragon,’ 74.”

P.—“Do you know anything further about him?”

Q. M.—“No, Sir; I never saw him after until I met him on this ship. He has been my messmate ever since.”

P.—“That will do. Call Holmes, the gunner's mate.”

P. to H.—“What do you know about the prisoner?”

H.—“When a boy he was a shipmate of mine on board the schooner ‘Fox,’ of Hartford.”

P.—“Where did you see him afterward?”

H.—“On the schooner ‘Polly,’ of Baltimore.”

P.—“What vessel were you on at the time?”

H.—“The brig ‘Porpoise,’ of Philadelphia.”

P.—“Did you ever see him afterwards?”

H.—“Not until I met him on this ship.”

P.—“How long have you been in this service?”

H.—“Nearly six years.”

P. (to prisoner,)—“Have you any more to call upon?”

I.—“No, Sir; there are a number of Americans on board, but none that knew me at home.”

P. (to Holmes.)—“That is all we want of you.”

P. (to me.)—“What have you to say for yourself?”

I.—“I acknowledge my crime, but being an American, I was tempted to commit what I have done. I have always sworn never to lift my arm against my country. I have been in three great battles in the English service, and done my duty, but not against my native land.”

P.—“What actions have you been in?”

I.—“I was in the ‘Lightning,’ 16 gun brigantine, when she captured a French brig of 28 guns; next in the ‘Amphion,’ around Cape Horn, with a French frigate, when I received several severe wounds.”

P.—“How many were killed aboard the ‘Lightning’?”

I.—“12 killed and 24 wounded.”

P.—“Have you anything more to say?”

I.—“No, Sir; I am unable to say any more myself—the case is now before the court.”

The Judge Advocate then arose and addressed the court, to the effect “That I had no business in the service, being an American and a pressed man. He mentioned a case in England, where an Englishman was pressed, and on the voyage assaulted an officer, but as he happened to be connected with the nobility, was released, and stated that he saw no reason why I should be punished, since I was a citizen of the United States, and not under their jurisdiction. Therefore, he begged the mercy of the court on behalf of the prisoner.”

The President then ordered the sentry to take me to the quarter-deck, where I remained about half an hour, and was brought in to receive sentence. It was this:—

“William Williams, (this was the name I took when Pressed,) you are found guilty of the crime charged against you, being a breach of the 11th Article of the 15th section of the Articles of war, but since you are proved to belong to the United States, it is the judgment of this court, that you be left at the disposal of the Admiral, whose sentence is, that you receive three hundred lashes through the British fleet.” This was on the 3d of September, 1806.

The Judge Advocate then came down to me and told me I had better petition the Admiral's lady. I said I could not write, but he kindly promised to do so for me, and present it that afternoon.

The next day I was called up on the deck and informed that half my punishment was to be omitted; the other half I should receive on my own ship the following morning at seven bells.

Nearly at the appointed time the officer whom I struck sent me a cartridge of gunpowder and a gill of liquor, to be drank about quarter of an hour before punishment, for benumbing my flesh. I also had a musket ball, which I put in my mouth, when I heard all hands called. The master-at-arms took me out of irons, and, just as the bell struck seven, took me to the waist gangway, when the crime was once more read, and I ordered to strip. I obeyed, and was immediately lashed up to the gratings.

The captain then reported to the Admiral that all was ready—returned, and commanded the boatswain's mate to do his duty.

At the first blow I thought they were pouring hot water over me, but the second fell on raw flesh, and before I had received twenty-five my shoes were full of blood. After that I remember nothing till I was let down and carried into the sick-bay.

Lt. Douglass sent his servant forward to tell the doctor to give me an emetic to rid me of the rum and gunpowder I had taken. The surgeon then proceeded to an examination of my wounds. He found the flesh completely torn off my back from my shoulders to my hips, the terrible effect of that most terrible of all instruments of punishment, “the cat.” I lay in one position in my cot, having my wounds dressed every day, for seventeen days.

About one o'clock on the morning of the 20th I wrenched away one of the irons of the forward port, and determined to escape. I tied two large blankets together, and with three yarns of spun yarn bound to the iron in the port, one end of the blankets, and thus lowered myself into the water. I was obliged to “tread water” and “float” for more than a hundred yards from the ship for fear of the marines, and then struck out for the harbor's mouth as hard as I could. It was about seven miles distant, and as I had on a pair of duck trowsers and a frock in my hat, it was hard work, and four hours passed by before I reached the shore, so weak that I could not stand up. I crept upon my hands and knees into the bushes and commenced ascending the mountain, where I lay nine days, living on fruit and berries, till the fleet sailed. I found afterwards that the waters of the harbor were full of sharks, but I was mercifully preserved.

On the 30th, the day after the departure of the fleet, I crawled through the bushes to the town. Two American vessels were then lying in the harbor. I hired a boat and boarded the “Amy,” of Philadelphia, whose captain kindly got me a berth on the other, the “Polly,” of Baltimore, homeward bound. We sailed Oct. 1st. The voyage was fine till off Cape Hatteras, when we encountered a severe north-easter, which carried away the head of our foremast above the cross-trees, but we partially repaired damages and arrived in Baltimore safely on the 12th. At my leaving, the captain presented me with five dollars.

I staid in Baltimore until the 27th, and then shipped in the brig “Rover,” Capt. Palmer, bound on a trading voyage, with a full cargo of “Yankee Notions.” We left the Capes Nov. 4th, called at Madeira, where the captain took on two pipes of wine, then ran down the Cape de Verdes, and anchored off the Isle of Mayo for hogs and fowls for ship use. Leaving here we laid a course for the Brazils. Dec. 15th we met a tremendous storm, which lasted three days, and broke off our fore and main-topmasts, the fall of which killed one man. After the gale was over we managed to rig up jury-masts and get into Rio Janeiro, where we underwent repairs and then laid away for the Cape of Good Hope. Once, on the passage, we were delayed by some English East Indiamen, who boarded us for provisions, and once by a heavy tornado, which, however, we weathered without much difficulty.

Feb. 9th we made the “Lion's Rump,” the most southern point of Africa, and ran up in to Table Bay. Here we lay till the 28th, trading for Cape wine, &c., which we took up to the Isle of France and sold for ready money. Thence we went to Batavia, got rid of the rest of our cargo, and loaded up with tea and spices. At the Isle of France, on our return, we sold nearly all our tea and some spice, the entire payments being in cash, and then hauled up once more in Table Bay.

While here an incident occurred, which might have altered the whole course of my life. A Dutchman and his daughter, a young lady about 25 years of age, were taking a pleasure sail, one fine day, in the harbor. Just as they came near our vessel, one of those hard flaws that sweep across that immense table land struck the boat and capsized it, throwing them both into the water. They struggled a few moments, and the lady was just sinking for the last time, when I leaped overboard, and swimming up to her caught and carried her to the boat, and then went to the rescue of the father. By my help they clung to the boat till they were taken safely off. The old man was most grateful to me, and offered me one thousand rix dollars and his daughter's hand in marriage, if I would leave the ship. I asked a dismissal from the captain, but he would not give it to me, and when I petitioned the consul I met with no more success. What sufferings it might have saved me, and what comforts it might have procured for me, I may not think. But it was an opportunity offered in vain.

Leaving Table Bay, we made sail for St. Helena, where we were detained by the English consul three weeks, as a false trader, but on the arrival of the man-of-war “Plantagenet,” under Lord De Courcy, we were acquitted and all damages paid. We put eighty thousand dollars into the “Porpoise,” of Philadelphia, which came in at this time, but owing to immediately succeeding circumstances I never learned whether it reached the owners in safety or not. Next we went to the island of Sicily, run down the coast of Africa to the Isle of Mayo for more fresh provisions, and stretched away to sea. Calms and storms followed each other for several days, and then came a tremendous gale, which carried away many of our spars, and prevented all attempts to repair damages or cook. When the storm abated we procured extra spars of a Danish East Indiaman whom we met, and the captain, taking an observation, reported that we were drifting on to the coast of Africa.

Not long afterwards it again clouded up, and we were enveloped by fogs and tossed about by storms for many days, until one morning, when the fog lifted, we spied two galleys pulling toward us. The captain cried out, “Boys, we are all made slaves; we must give up.”

They pulled alongside and boarded us like a parcel of bull-dogs, with their “tolwals” or short scimetars in their hands. One, who spoke a little English, asked for money; the others went round ransacking everything they could lay their hands on. The captain of one of the galleys ordered the men aloft to send down the fore and main-to-sails, but as he spoke Tripolitan none understood him. Our captain turned to me and asked if I knew what he said. I translated the order, and it was instantly obeyed. They got the money out of her—as near as I could learn, about thirty thousand dollars—and drove us into their galleys. Their arms were principally blunderbusses and swords. We had none at all, and were forced to submit.

All these galleys carry a lug-sail, and never come out in rough weather. These had, one 28 oars and the other 32. As we pulled away, one of the pirates went below and set our brig a-fire, fore and aft. The blaze was the last we saw of our good old vessel.

An hour after we made land dead ahead, about fifteen miles distant, which we reached at sundown. We were all taken ashore and put into a kind of cell, ten feet square, where we lay, eleven of us, that night, next day and next night, without food or drink. The next day they took us out, chained us two and two, and drove us into another hovel, shackling us to an iron block, and bringing us a pot of boiled rice, which, with a little salt fish, was our allowance for that day.

Next day we were again compelled to almost starve, as we had only half as much as the day before. The fourth day they chained us from the block and set us to work breaking out and carrying stone down to the water to build a fort, until noon, when the “Sadi” shouted out, “Konakow,” or “dinner.” At night we were again chained to the block. This was not for fear of our escape, but lest the wandering Arabs should steal us. The former is simply impossible, but in spite of the utmost precaution, the latter sometimes occurs.

The next morning brought no change, and by night we all wished ourselves dead. One man—John Perkins by name, from Oxford, Conn.—cut his own throat, and though we tore up our shirts and tried with them to staunch the blood, he refused to live, and soon expired. His last words were, “We shall never get away. It is better to die now than be tormented to death.” He was a fine fellow, and we keenly felt his loss.

When our overseers found out that one was dead they were on the point of carrying away his allowance, but we would not suffer it; so they ran off to tell the Sadi. He came in a great rage, and abused us for not informing him when Perkins had wounded himself. He ordered us to carry him out of town and bury him, which we did as decently as we were able, tying a handkerchief over his face, covering him with banyan leaves, and filling up the grave with care. We turned back with heavy hearts of our labor.

In this manner two years went by. Hard work and partial starvation, joined to abuse and neglect, wore us down, till we were very thin and weak. Our fetters, which we constantly wore round our ankles, chafed away the skin and flesh, leaving great sores—and the pain thus caused us we could only relieve, without removing it, by tying them high on the leg that they might not wear still more on the naked bone.

The scenes we witnessed are almost as incredible as they are horrible. I will mention but one—the case of a negro slave, stripped and torn with hot irons in his thighs and shoulders, till pieces were pinched out and lay upon the ground. This was but one of many, some worse than even this.

[Chapter VIII]

These two years being at last over, we were brought into market to be sold again, and when we came to be separated, one to go this way and another that, it seemed as if my fate was sealed, and I, shut out for ever from kindred and from home, gave up all hopes of becoming free or happy again. While together we had suffered, it had been endurable—now death would have been relief.

I now had another overseer, under whom were fourteen other Christian slaves, but no Americans. We were carried about five miles from town and made to prune vineyards, cultivate sweet potatoes and yams, and, when the proper season arrived, were sent to the edge of the desert to gather wild honey. My clothes, by this time, were nearly gone. What pieces of cloth I could get I wound round my fetters to save my legs, which grew worse and worse continually.

This honey gathering was the hardest of our work. We were obliged to carry on our heads jars containing two gallons of honey, and with these walk fifteen miles through the burning sand, our shoulders and other exposed parts of our bodies blistered with the sun. One Frenchman, who disobeyed some trifling order, was struck by the “Sadi” with the flat of his sword. Enraged, he threw down his jar of honey, smashing it to atoms. Arriving at town, he was taken from his partner and led to a jungle where was a cistern of torture. They put him into the cistern and then let in water, till he began to strangle and become unconscious. It was then drawn off, and on his return to sensibility again let in. This was repeated several times, and the poor fellow taken out, too weak to stand, so he was left in a shed to recover.

Such things occur every day, more or less. One poor slave belonging to another gang, an Englishman, I think, was put into a place like stocks, and his feet so bastinadoed that they swelled up, mortified, and he died. In such employments and such miseries wore away two weary years.

I was then sold again for eight hundred dollars, and carried to Buddhis, one hundred and fifty miles from Tripoli, where I remained idle three or four days, and then went to work preserving almonds. This fruit grows on trees as large as our apple trees, bearing sometimes a hundred bushels, and when ripe is of a beautiful golden color and resembles in shape a common pear. When gathered from the trees they are laid up in heaps and turned over from day to day, till the outside is entirely decayed, then washed with care, dried, packed away in boxes, and become the almond of commerce. The outside, which we never see in this country, is much better than the kernel, and is never injurious, no matter how much be eaten.

As before, we were chained under our hovel every night. The cook brought us our breakfast, which consisted of rice, sweet potatoes and yams. Twelve ounces of these, with a piece of salt fish, was our daily allowance.

After a while we were sent off to the desert again gathering honey. There were five gangs in all. One of these began to fight amongst themselves, and their “Sadi” rushed in among them and killed five on the spot. When we saw this we made a league in our gang to kill the “Sadi” and clear out. I had heard some one say that the caravan would soon pass by, and, having informed my companions of this, told them to stand ready, and when I gave the signal, come to my aid. I gave the signal, but his eyes were too sharp for me, and mistrusting something he drew his “tolwal,” and said, “beware!” This deterred the others from doing as had been agreed—it passed off, the caravan went by, and we were still in slavery. Two of them had, however, started a little at the sign. During the day nothing was done about it, but at sundown their irons were taken off, they were handcuffed and led away, I know not whither. The “Sadi” told us they were dead, and this prevented us from any farther attempt at escape.

One morning two slaves were brought out, bound together and shot. A little after a negro came up, from whose thigh they cut several large pieces, and then, casting them into the fire, held him over it to inhale the odor of his own consuming flesh. His wounds were seared with hot irons, and he sent back to town.

Three years and eleven months passed away in this dreary round of constant, though varied, suffering. I had lost nearly all reckoning of days and months and years, so that I could scarcely tell how long I had been a slave, but the above periods are, in the main, correct.

The “Sadi” one day told me I must go to Tripoli. He did not know the reason, but upon inquiring how, he said I was to ride with him. Of course I was all ready, and very soon, he on a camel and I on an elephant, without irons for the first time in seven years, we strode away to Tripoli. Our destination was the audience chamber of the Grand Bashaw. On my arrival there he informed me that I was released, loading me with coarse and vulgar epithets.

I ran out of the chamber and down to the beach very swiftly. Looking out across the harbor, I saw two vessels with Danish colors flying, from one of which a boat was coming toward the shore. I waited for it to strike the sand, and then, without leave or license, jumping in and found myself surrounded by English sailors, from an English ship, which had adopted the Dane flag for safety.

The captain asked me where I came from. I replied, “From slavery.” He informed me that Decatur was round at Tunis, where he had met him. This was the first I knew about his actions, or the war with England, or, indeed, of any events in the world at large during the seven long years of my captivity. I went aboard the ship, and on my expressing a wish to go to England, or any other Christian country, whence I could get home to America, he offered to leave me at the Downs on his return voyage. He gave me two shirts, a pair of pants, and the crew made me up a kit of clothes, for at this time all I had for garments was a mat with a hole in it for my head, and which barely covered my shoulders.

We arrived in England Oct. 18th, 1815. The captain landed me at “Downs,” and made me a present of a guinea to carry me to London. I got to London, and went to the American Consul, Alexander Beadslee, who questioned me considerable about New York and Baltimore, then told me I was no American, and turned me out of his office. I had but a few shillings, and when that was gone I called on him again, with the same result. Leaving the office, I went out across Tower Hill, the place of my impressment, where I fell in with a number of American sailors, whom I told of my meeting with the consul. From them I learned of a cartel fitting out to carry home impressed and destitute seamen, and to sail the next day. I went again to the consul and requested him to overhaul the books till 1797, and see my name in a protest lodged there concerning a damaged vessel. He refused this very ungraciously, and told me to clear out. I descended into the yard, where I met a man whom I had known. I spoke to him, calling him by name, but he had forgotten me. I told him who I was, and of some of our old shipmates; also what the consul had done. He went with me to the office, but I found out he was blind, and almost gave up. However, upon his testimony I gained permission to go, on condition that I would take care of him. I had given me a shilling, embarking money, and the next day sailed for New York.

We reached port November 24th, 1815. The customs officer boarded the ship, and when mustering us, said,

“You are a pretty expense to government. Two and sixpence a day for every one here.” When informed that we had received only the one shilling, embarkation money, he was greatly surprised, and immediately reported it, causing the consul's recall. It appeared he had swindled both us and the government, and but for a rich father-in-law, who refunded the money thus feloniously obtained, he would have passed his days in State's prison.

I tarried in New York some time, looking for a berth, but my leg was so sore I could find none. There was no conveyance to Norwich by land, and I could get no passage by boat, so I took my land tocks aboard and started afoot. It was very cold, snowing all the time, and being thinly clad, I suffered considerably. I got to Bridgeport at night, and went into a store for a place to lay down. I told my story to the owner, who brought out to me some victuals, and spreading some Buffalo skins by the fire, told me to lay down. I was as much surprised as pleased at this unexpected mark of confidence, for I could have stolen as much as I liked, and partly on that account, though more probably from fatigue, I slept soundly till morning.

The store-keeper gave me some bread and cheese to take with me on the road, and by several days' walking, during which I had good luck finding lodgings, I saw Norwich, Dec. 1815, after an absence of 18 years, 4 months and 5 days. I inquired for my mother. She lived up on Bean Hill. I hastened to the house, knocked at the door, and a voice, which I immediately recognized as hers, bade me “come in.” I entered. She was sitting by the fire with my brother's infant in her lap. I asked “if Mrs. Kelly lived there.” She answered yes. I then inquired if she had a son, by name Ebenezer Kelly. She said she had once, “but the Lord only knows whether I have now or not.”

“Yes, ma'am, you have,” said I; “I saw him to-day in New London.”

“Oh, Lord!” she exclaimed, “shall I ever see him?”

I could keep in no longer, and cried out,

“Yes, mother; here I am!”

She fell into my arms and fainted away. At this moment my brother's wife came in and caught up the child. She did not know who or what I was, or what I had been doing, and ran out and called my brother. He came, but neither did he know me, till my mother told him. My sister, too, could not recognize me, so many years of hardship and suffering had made me old before my time.

They cared for me, dressed my wounds, which, from the time they were first worn by the chains, had never healed, and I soon became quite well and strong again.

I staid at home till the end of December, when my brother took me to the place where I had taken the gun when a boy, and here I worked till April. Then I came to Norwich and took passage to New York on my way to Richmond, Virginia, to visit my sister. I sailed from New York in the “Polly,” and remained with my sister five days. On leaving, she gave me some money, and I went to Baltimore in a schooner after employment.

[Chapter IX]

Commodore Taylor, an officer in the Buenos Ayrean service, was now gathering and fitting out privateers to cruise against the Spaniards. The first one was still in port, the “Rio de la Plata,” Capt. Almedi, and I shipped in her. Three days after I went aboard I was made boatswain. We had seventy-five men before the mast, eighty-two all told.

May 23d, 1816, we left the Capes of Virginia and cruised off Cadiz for two months, during which time we captured eight vessels, manned and sent them to Buenos Ayres. Our crew, by these actions, being considerably thinned, it became necessary for us to return home after men. On the run we fell in with a three-mast schooner and put chase. We overtook her, ran in under her quarter, and threw fifteen men on board. The schooner's men immediately got below, leaving their guns all loaded and primed, and the matches, all lit, lying on the deck—the usual way in which the Spaniards repel boarders. We clapped on hatches, manned her with sixteen men, and sent her off to northward, as we saw a large vessel approaching. On she came, and after various hailings we discovered her to be the store ship for Cadiz. She took off our prisoners to Spain at a dollar a head, and left us.

We laid away to northward after our prize, and about two o'clock she was descried from the mast-head sailing up astern. We waited for her, took out the captives and $148,000 in money, with two gold bars of 17 lbs. each, and twenty-four pigs of silver of 20 lbs. each. She was loaded with cochineal and indigo.

A day or two after she left us for Buenos Ayres two large vessels hove in sight. We bore down and came nearly within gunshot, when, seeing them to be a frigate and seventy-four, we “about ship” and stood away. They chased us all day and all night, but the next morning gave it up. We ran back off Cadiz. A three-mast schooner came out, but on seeing us ran right back again.

We heard from Cadiz every day. Twenty thousand dollars was offered as a reward for our capture, and this very schooner was sent after us, but the cowardice of the captain saved us and lost him his life. Then we sailed direct for Buenos Ayres, and arrived in the harbor, 4 months and 20 days absent, with three millions and a half of money.

When moored, I started with another sailor to go ashore, but no sooner had we stepped on land than a guard of soldiers seized us and marched us off to the prison of the Castle. Two days we lay here, wondering what would come next. On the third the commandant came for us to bring water for the soldiers. This we refused to do. A little while after he came for us to ship on a Spanish gun brig to rig her out. I said, “No, not till I get what I have earned.” He threatened to put me in dungeon and double irons. I held out, but the other one went. Twenty-one days I was kept in prison, only allowed to go out with a Danish soldier, on duty there, to visit a doctor and have my sores treated, as they were still unhealed.

One night there was a fandango at a small hotel, and I bribed the corporal to take me out, giving him two dollars. About midnight, when the merriment was at its height, I meant to kill the corporal and run, but at the persuasion of those around I let him alone. He went and brought down the soldiers, who broke up the dance, and carried me off. I was locked up and the corporal taken away under guard.

Next morning a triangle was brought out and set up, a company of soldiers drawn out, and the corporal tied up to the triangle. He was accused of taking money to let me go, and flogged till he was literally cut to pieces.

In a day or two, having liberty to go out again, I met Capt. Almedi, and told him if he was going to kill me he had better do it at once. He said he had heard I was intending to shoot him, and had imprisoned me from self-defense. I reminded him that I had already saved his life, and if I wished him dead had had no need to kill him myself. He sent me to the pay office to Mr. De Forest, the agent, from whom I received the first payment of five shares, equal to $7,000. I paid $1,00 sic for my board in prison, for I could not eat the prison fare, and meeting the General of the forces, gave him 25 cents a day for the privilege of buying my own provisions and procured my release.

I went to the American Consul, Mr. Reed, and tried to send home seven thousand dollars to Mr. H. De Forest, then in New York. He placed it for me in the packet, which sailed but five days after, was cast away, and every soul perished. The rest of the money was secretly carried off to England, and by this piece of villainy I lost more than twenty-six thousand dollars—the other sailors suffering in proportion, also.

I lived in Buenos Ayres eight months, and then, having spent all my money, shipped in the “Clifton” of 28 guns, whose shipping master was Capt. Meech. She sailed in June, bound round the Horn. Next day ran ashore in a fog and carried away all her forefoot, so that she leaked badly—more than five feet of water an hour. We put back into Elsinado, but could not get her overhauled, and the captain bought a French sloop-of-war, which had also been damaged and repaired in Elsinado. She cost twenty-nine thousand, and was a perfect beauty. We put ten of the “Clifton's” 18 lb. grenades aboard of her and stretched up for Cadiz.

In the course of two months we took four or five small prizes, returned to Buenos Ayres, and thence sailed for Baltimore. Off Western islands we saw two ships ahead, made for them, and coming up with them very fast, the captain said it was of no use to go after them. The 2d lieutenant was determined to go—the commander as determined not to, and we left them. Both proved to be Spanish Galleons, carrying only six guns, and when captured by another privateer, as they soon were, made for each sailor a share of more than eighteen hundred dollars. Thus the timidity of our captain lost us a mine of wealth, and on our arrival at Baltimore, he, with the 1st lieutenant, was hooted through the city, while the 2d lieutenant was promoted to the command of a sloop-of-war, of which Capt. Meech was 1st lieutenant. I staid on her to help fit her out, and when she was ready for sea abandoned her.

I shipped in a schooner to Richmond, and on arriving there got a berth in the “Sea Lion,” of Staten Island, for New York, where we landed Christmas eve, 1817. The constable of the City Hall was an old friend of mine, and with his aid I procured a situation to serve out provisions to the poor, at the wages of six shillings a day. I continued in this employ till march, 1818, and then returned to Norwich. I visited my mother and other relatives three days, and took my land tocks aboard for Boston, reaching Providence the first day and Boston the second. I made two voyages from Boston to Dublin, and back, in the “Climax,” laden, outward bound, with flax-seed, and bringing home passengers, and then shipped in the “Pearl,” from Boston to Amsterdam. I was taken sick at Amsterdam, and lay in the hospital till the last of August—then I was sent to a boarding-house by the consul.

When fully recovered, I returned to Baltimore, and went boatswain on a Buenos Ayrean privateer, called the “Hornet,” Capt. Beattie. On Christmas we were visited by a very severe gale of wind. When it abated the captain went below, leaving orders to make no more sail till the weather was settled. I was on deck, as was my duty, and heard the order given. When he was asleep the lieutenant ordered to make more sail. I refused. He ordered the after guard to shake reefs out of the mainsail. I forbade it. The foresail was close-reefed, the mainsail was hoisted, and just then the wind burst and threw us on our broadside. The decks were all swept clean, only one gun remaining, and had it not been for a heavy cross sea we should have foundered. The captain sprang on deck, put the lieutenant in confinement, and ordered to let her go ahead. We ran under bare poles fourteen knots an hour for seventeen hours—the first time a clipper ship ever scud. We had four feet of water in the hold and both pumps disabled. With much difficulty one of them was at last got in working order, and by dint of constant labor for three hours we got her free.

Next day we fell in with a brig bound for Havana, with a cargo of grindstones, &c.; took her and carried her into the island of Abaco, where we sold her cargo. In the gale of the day previous a Spanish sloop-of-war was cast away on the rocks, with $100,000 aboard. This the wreckers got possession of, but by the means of divers we procured some of her guns and then put to sea.

Cruising off Buenos Ayres we discovered a sail, and put chase. When she saw us she ran for Porto Rico. We had a brass gun, which we fired to bring her to, but she only rounded up long enough to give us a broadside. We came alongside and had it broadside for broadside in a running fight five hours and twenty minutes. At midnight we boarded her by the light of her guns, and found no one on deck. By daylight we had the complete mastery, and all the prisoners transferred to the “Hornet.” She had three hundred and seventy-five prime slaves; these we took and cleared for Savannah, as one of the owners belonged there.

While lying at the island of Abaco, we had sent one of the officers home by another vessel, to be put ashore anywhere in this country. It so happened that he was landed in Savannah and reported us as pirating. As soon as we heard of it, we gave up the vessel and surrendered ourselves to the authorities, who immediately released us. The vessel cleared for Abaco, but though the cutter went in pursuit, she got away.

[Chapter X]

At Savannah, I shipped in the “Hut” of Boston, for Liverpool. At Liverpool we stripped ship, and while I was unlashing the cat-harpings of the mizen rigging, the strap which held the block slipped. The captain, who was on the quarter-deck, swore at me for trying, as he said, to kill him, and ordered me down. He sent me forward, and as I went, tried to kick me, but I caught his foot and laid him on his back. The mate ran at me and I knocked him down. I knocked the captain down again, and when the mate picked himself up I clenched him, the people on the wharves cheering me on. The captain came to himself and sent me ashore. I went directly to the consul's office and told him the whole story, but he paid no attention. The following afternoon I went aboard, got my clothes and wages, and sailed to Dublin. Here I found no ship, and footed it down to Limerick, one hundred and four Irish miles. There being no ship at Limerick, I walked to Cork, thence to Youghall, and thence to Waterford, where I worked a fortnight. Next I returned to Dublin, and remained there at work till November, when I crossed to Liverpool.

>From Liverpool to London I walked again to the consul, Mr. Aspinwal, who sent me to a boarding-house. I soon got tired of doing nothing, and told him I must ship somewhere. I took my land tacks aboard for Portsmouth, 72 miles distant, and there shipped for Swansea, in Wales. Just outside, we met a tremendous gale, and the captain went below with the mate, leaving the vessel entirely to me. We were out of water, and though, when the gale abated, a Swedish craft near by sent us some, I lost it getting it aboard. On our arrival at Swansea, safe and sound, the captain took me with him up to the town and discharged me, fearing I would report his conduct. I went aboard again, but they tried to shoot me; so, abandoning them, I started for Cardiff and thence to Cork.

>From Cork I went to Bristol, and then walked up to London. As I was leaving Bath I perceived a guard of soldiers coming along, and asking the reason, learned that the King, George IV, was coming to Bath. The royal coach speedily hove in sight, all covered with mud and the marks of stones, which had been thrown at it by the people along the road, who thus expressed their indignation at the trial of Queen Caroline.

I arrived in London Dec. 24th, 1819. One day I went to the trial of the Queen, and heard a speech from Lord Brougham. Various companies of tradesmen turned out to express their sympathy with her. The brass founders were arrayed in brass armor, dazzling the eye with its brilliancy, and the glass blowers were clothed in glass. The various parishes paid addresses to her, for the same purpose, at Hamersly.

I was in London till June, 1820. Then I heard that the letter “R” was to be taken off the names of all runaways from the service, so I went to Somerset House and got an address to the purser of the “Princess Royal.” Next day I got all my pay and a certificate for prize money, in all amounting to 35£, which I spent immediately. In July I shipped on the “Mohawk,” for St. Ubes, and thence to New York. At St. Ubes we loaded up with salt, and were going to sea with but four half-casks of provisions. To this the crew objected. The mate called it right, and when the captain came he weighed the kedge. I asked him if we were going to sea in this way. He told me it was none of my business, and took up a capstan bar to knock me down. I caught up another, and as he struck at me, parried his blow, and knocked him down. The mate sent me forward, and gave word to heave anchor. I told the pilot not to take us outside that night or he would go overboard. We came to anchor inside the bar and kept anchor watch.

In the morning the mate called me to get my things ready to go ashore. I obeyed, and got into the boat, the captain sitting in the farther end from me, and thus we went to the deputy consul. The captain told the consul I was not American. I referred to the London consul, and informed him of the trouble about provisions. It was of no use; the officers had it their own way, and paid me off.

Five weeks I waited in St. Ubes without a chance to go anywhere. My money was all gone, and no work to do, so I went to the consul for a passport to Lisbon. I had to go nine miles by land and nine by water, over the spot where old Lisbon formerly stood. I traveled on foot, and at a little distance from the shore met five Portuguese, who began to talk about murdering me. I sprang in among them, laid three on the ground, and made with all speed for the water.

At Lisbon I called on the consul. He was absent, but I laid my case before his clerk, who told me to come again in the morning. I went as appointed, and was informed that, as the deputy consul at St. Ubes had taken me from my ship, he must look out for me. He gave me another passport, and sent me back. I lay around, half-starved, for seven or eight days, sleeping at night under the boats on the beach. One night I went into a cook's shop and begged some fish, but nearly killed myself with the bones, for I could not stop to pick them out. With the spirit this scanty food revived in me, I crawled in the morning to the consul's office and threatened that, unless he gave me assistance, I would enter the Portuguese service, and he might take the consequences. This started him, and he sent me to a boarding-house in Lisbon, where I staid two days.

Cruising down Black Hawk Square, I saw an English vessel lying off the pier. A boat was coming ashore from her with a sick man in it. As they came up the steps, bringing this man, the captain asked me if I knew where he could get a hand. I inquired where he was going, and learning it was Pillau, in Prussia, I shipped, paid my board, and sailed with him in the “Twins,” of Sunderland.

We loaded with salt at St. Ubes, ran through Cattegat to Pillau, a twenty-one days' passage, discharged the cargo, took in wheat, and returned to London. The homeward voyage was very boisterous in both seas, and occupied 18 days.

I told the consul of all that had happened on board the “Mohawk,” and its consequences to me, but got no restitution. My money was, as usual, very speedily gone, and then I slept anywhere, living on what I could pick up. One time all I had for four days was a piece of lemon-peel I found in the street. Wandering round the East India dock-yard, I at last got a job on rigging, and worked four days at five shillings a day; then I was discharged.

I heard that the possession of a certain ticket would secure me a pint of soup and other food, every day. When I came to where the victuals were distributed, I received a title to nine shillings a week for my board in my old boarding-house, which I enjoyed till December. On the 12th of that month I saw an American vessel coming up the river. As soon as she stopped I got on to her and found her to be the “London Packet.” Her commander, Capt. Tracy, whom I had known at home, went with me to the consul's office and procured for me assistance, until she left for Boston with me aboard. We touched at the Isle of Wight for provisions, and arrived in America April 5th, 1821. From Boston I went to Great Barrington on a visit of several weeks to my nephew, and worked there a little while, though I had to fight for my pay. Then I walked over to Hudson, N.Y., and the next day forty-one miles down the North River, where I spent a month, haying. After this I visited a niece in Dutchess Co. five weeks, and returned to Norwich.

[Chapter XI]

I sailed in the sloop “Thames” from Norwich for the West Indies. Going down the river I had some difficulty with the mate, and running away at New London, shipped on a Middletown brig, the “Condor,” for Santa Cruz. We arrived out safely, and having taken the usual cargo of rum and sugar, returned to New London. Here I was taken sick and sent to the hospital boarding-house. Upon my recovery I sent on again to Boston and got a berth aboard the blank, of New York, Capt. Cartwright, for West Indies. On the outward passage we cobbed the cook for being dirty in the preparation of our food, which caused a great improvement immediately. While at St. Thomas the consul sent us a bullock. The cook selected all the best portions for the cabin, leaving the poor for us, and we undertook to cob him again for this. The captain heard the noise, and rushing up on deck with a pistol in his hand, came towards me, calling me the cause of all difficulty and fired. The ball grazed my head, passing through my hat. Said he, angrily, “I shan't miss you next time!” and went below after a second pistol. I knew what was coming, and quietly stepping forward, took a pistol I always kept loaded, with two balls, and came back to await the captain. Up he came with unabated wrath, and was about to fire upon me, when I gave him warning and fired. He fell, a dead man, with both balls through his chest. I was sorry as soon as it was done, but then there was no help for it. His life and mine were at stake, and I kept my own.

The mate put me in irons and went ashore after the consul, whom he brought on board to examine the case. He asked if I knew what crime I had committed, and what would be its punishment. I told him I did, but did not think I had done wrong, for it was to save my own life. He ordered the mate to keep me prisoner till we were at sea, and then, if I was willing to do my duty, he might set me free. This accordingly was done, and I worked as usual during the return trip, till we reached New York, when I again became a prisoner, and an inmate of Bridewell.

The Superior Court was now sitting at New York. There were few cases on the docket, and I was therefore speedily brought out for trial. No prosecutors appeared, however, and the passengers bearing witness in my favor, a lawyer was appointed for me, and the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter in self-defense. I was then released and went home to Norwich.

I remained round home for four days, and shipped from New London for Antigua, in the brig “Roland,” with a cargo of horses and mules. I made one voyage in her, and afterward spent some time in New Hartford. While here I broke my thigh by a fall from a horse, and lay a month before it was set. This Spring (1823) I lived a few weeks at the Alms House in Norwich. In March I got a berth on sloop “Venus,” Norwich to N. York—went in her two trips; then in sloop “Hornet,” of Mystic, as cook and steward, for Georgetown, with 41 passengers.

At Georgetown I wanted a discharge, and the captain, being angry, got me into a quarrel and had me lodged in Georgetown jail. Another captain came and let me out, but the “Hornet” had sailed, leaving me to shift for myself. I went pilot on the river three or four months, then on a schooner to Norfolk, where I shipped on the “Protection,” for Holland.

We sailed from Hampton Roads for Amsterdam, but drawing too much water to enter the harbor, lay at Meideppe, discharging and receiving cargo on lighters. On return voyage brought two hundred pipes of gin into Norfolk, and while going up the river got our anchor foul. Next day a seaman, named Ryder, and myself, were sent to clear it away. The chief mate came down and began to scold about something or other. Ryder threatened to heave him overboard. The mate went ashore, got an officer, took me up instead of Ryder, and carried me to a justice, who told me to apologize or go to jail. I had no apology to make, and went to jail at King William, nine miles form Norfolk, the sheriff on horseback and I afoot. He made me run half the time, declaring he would shoot me if I did not keep up; and when our journey was over thrust me into the condemned cell and left me. No one came near me that day or night, and I nearly died of thirst. The jail keeper was absent, but the next morning his man put me into the debtors' room and gave me some breakfast. King William, at that time, contained a tavern, court-house and jail. I was allowed to go about and sit at the tavern or the court-house. In the morning gentlemen would assemble to hear me sing songs of the sea, and gave me a little money. I was in prison nine days before the court called for me, and then, as no prosecutors appeared, and the harbor-master, who had witnessed the whole affair, affirmed that I was guiltless, I was released and a warrant given me to arrest the mate for false imprisonment.

I rode down with the sheriff and found that the mate had cleared. I got my pay from the “Protection,” and went to Norfolk after him. He was not there, so I waited for him, but several weeks passing by without my succeeding, I shipped on the “Brothers,” of Greenock, Scotland, for Belfast, in Ireland. Made a voyage and a half, and sailed in her from Belfast for Mermechee, Canada, after timber. Made two voyages between these ports, and started on a third, but shortly before we made the Canadian coast encountered a heavy gale, with fog, which lasted two days, and when it lifted showed us land close ahead. There was no room to wear ship. We put her about, but she missed stays and went on to the rocks, giving us barely time to get ashore before she broke up. We lived on the rocks five days without food or drink, and were at last taken off by the “John Adams,” from Liverpool, and carried into Mermechee.

I got a day's work once in a while, for several months, but not enough to keep me comfortable. I got tired by that time, and determined to find my way home across the country on foot. It was the middle of November, and there were no roads. I struck the Mermechee river and followed it up about eighty miles, crossed in the ferry-boat, and made my way down to Fredericton, N.B. This took eighteen days. Then I went down to St. Johns, ninety-three miles, but found no vessels going to the United States, and retraced my steps to Fredericton. Near Fredericton I got five days' employment hauling timber with cattle in a ship-yard.

Just below this place there was then opened a road to Eastport, but I did not know it, and the river being by this time frozen five feet in thickness, I walked up on the ice to Jacksontown, one hundred and fifty miles above Fredericton. On the way I went to a tavern for supper and lodging. As I had no money they were going to turn me out, although it was a bitter cold night, with a terribly sharp north-west wind, but a young woman there took pity on me, and gave me some skins to sleep on.

>From Jacksontown I went to Holton, Maine, fifty miles, which I walked in one day. At night I entered a house and got a lodging and supper. The snow was half leg deep. I worked at Holton ten days, and started for home with two dollars in my pocket, came through wilderness and snow, sleeping usually under the trees in the snow banks. I reached a house one night, where I put up, and inquiring the way to the next found it to be seventy miles. This was rather discouraging. I bought all the food they could spare, and with the snow three feet deep began to tramp down the river. I walked on the ice, making but about ten miles a day, at most, sometimes much less, and at night building a fire and camping on the bank, not daring to travel for fear of air-holes. For three days after leaving the last house I never touched a mouthful to eat, and after that but a morsel or two a day, so that for fourteen days I did not enjoy as much as two ordinary meals. The last day I nearly gave up. I could walk by a rod or two without falling down. I was very weak, and after striving in vain to get ahead, lay down to die. As I lay there, I heard the voice of a man calling pigs. I was not weak then. I jumped up and got ashore, and went with him to his house, which was hidden from the river by an intervening hill. He built a good fire and gave me some supper. I staid with him three days. He lived there all alone in the wilderness, and kept a sort of hotel for people going up to settle.

Leaving him, I struck the Penobscot River, stopping sometimes a day or two to work, and came to Old Town. There I left the river and went to Bangor and Belfast by land. From Belfast I got a passage in a vessel bound for Boston, but, putting into another port for fear of a gale, were frozen in, and I had to get my land-tacks aboard again. When in Kingston, twelve miles from Newburyport, I reckoned my journey and found I had walked six hundred and seventy-two miles in about three months.

[Chapter XII]

At Newburyport I bought some clothes and shipped for New Orleans, sailing March 24th, 1827. The first night out we had a tremendous gale, which burst away the topsail. I went up to furl it, taking a boy along with me. His hands froze very quickly, and I sent him down. We lay to six days, with no food but pickled meats—the cook being unable to do his duty on account of the storm. At New Orleans the vessel was unloaded and sold.

>From thence I shipped in a New York vessel for Liverpool, with cotton. As I went in another man's stead I did not sign the articles. We dropped down to Belize and ran aground on the bar. Lay there four days and then got off. Met a squall which laid us on our beam ends, and finally got to Liverpool. On the voyage we spent Sundays in turning over the bales on deck, though there was no need of it.

As soon as we arrived in Liverpool I went to the consul and complained of the captain for bringing me out of the States without signing the articles. The captain was sent for, and when the consul heard how it was, he would not do or say nything sic more about it. I refused to go aboard again, and eight beside me left the ship.

I stayed in Liverpool a week. Went to Hull and remained there a week. Shipped in an English vessel for Hamburg, and then was discharged to come home. I spent five days in Hamburg without anything to eat but a piece of gristle I found in the road, the sweetest morsel I ever tasted. The “Randeau,” from Baltimore, at length came in. I went to Capt. Wood, told him my story, and got a berth on his vessel. We were thirty days making three hundred miles, and eighty-three on the passage home, arriving in Baltimore, Nov. 18th, 1827. I received twenty dollars from Capt. Wood, and shipped for Boston in the “Thomas Jones.” Lay in Holmes' Hole a fortnight, wind bound. The crew wanted the last half of their advance, and as we could not get it we all left, and I went on the “Dray,” for Alexandria. I deserted her at Alexandria and took a place on the “Pearl,” with logwood, for Boston. While loading up, the long boat got adrift. Two men were sent after her in a smaller boat, but neither of them were ever heard of.

On our arrival at Boston I went by stage to New Hartford to visit my relatives, and staid some months. Then I shipped from New Haven on the “Melancthon,” Captain Fisher. I worked on board four or five days, and we were just about to weigh anchor, when an untoward accident sent me ashore. I was unbending the topsail, standing up. Some way or other I lost my balance and fell, striking the fore-yard and gunwale of the vessel, and bounded overboard. The captain jumped over after me and hauled me on board quite senseless. When I came to myself I found that all my upper teeth were gone and my upper lip split open by the blow upon the gunwale. I was sick a fortnight from my injuries, and when well made a trip in the “Polly,” Capt. Beecher, to Martinique, with live stock to exchange for rum.

I spent the next year coasting from Norwich, and finally shipped with Capt. Tracy for West Indies in the “Post Captain.” I was employed all the way making ammunition, in case of pirates, being the only gunner aboard. We had no occasion to use it, however, though we were chased once by a couple of roguish looking craft. After her return to New York, the “Post Captain” made a voyage to Hamburg and back in 66 days, 17 days less than it took to go one way in the “Randeau,” two years before. Such a difference there is in vessels.

Then I coasted again from New York to Richmond and Norfolk, seven trips in eighteen months, and came home to Norwich, which I worked till 1836.

In November of that year I sailed from New London in the “Friends,” whaler, for Falkland Islands. Before reaching the Western Islands we lost three boats in a heavy gale, which we replaced from a ship lost at Peter Pico, thus saving us a return passage to New London. We stopped at Fayal to land passengers, and stretched away for Brazil Banks, where we whaled it, and had such good luck that, had the weather been good, we could have filled up on the spot.

One Sunday morning we were looking out and spied a whale. Two boats instantly put chase, and that of which the chief mate had command overhauled and struck him. It was my duty, at such times, to take the wheel of the ship. I watched both the boats and the weather very closely, and just as they got some distance from the vessel I perceived a fog rising. I told the captain, but he took no notice of it, and it soon came up, hiding them from our sight. I had kept the bearings, and after waiting awhile we ran down N. N. E. after them, and came to. In an hour, one boat came in sight, close alongside, partly full of water, with one of the men bailing her out. The other appeared very soon, and we took them all aboard. The captain and all on the ship had been very much alarmed for their safety, and when our anxieties were thus relieved, the captain called us into the cabin and stated his resolve never to lower a boat on Sunday again.

As soon as this happened the whales came rolling up by the side of the vessel in great numbers, so near that we could throw a biscuit on them—but no boats went out.

We made sail for the island of Toby. This is on the west coast of Patagonia, and is inhabited only by Penguins. On the island is a large hole in the rocks where letters and other things are left by passing ships, to be taken off by others. We found here a letter from the captain of the “McDonough,” our tender, which had left New London in August with the letter, fifty barrels of oil. We took it all aboard the “Friends,” and started for the Falkland Islands, where we arrived in June. Lay there four months, stripped ship and overhauled. These islands have no permanent inhabitants, but are a great resort for whalemen. On one of them are rocks, where we used to go and watch for whales, and when we saw one, man the boats and chase. The “McDonough” lay here, and on Sunday our captain broke his promise and went over to visit her.

We left the Falkland Islands November, 1837, with 2,200 barrels, for the Straits of Magellan. The “Mentor,” of New London, and her tender, a New York brig and our tender, were in company. The first of January, 1838, we got into the Straits and spent six weeks getting through. There are anchorages about sixty miles apart, and if, leaving one at morning we were unable to reach the next before night, there was nothing to do but to put back. We stopped every little while to get fresh meat from the Indians. We came in contact with two tribes, the “Horse Indians,” so called from their living almost constantly on horseback, and exhibiting surpassing skill in the management of those animals. They come rushing down from the mountains, dismount, and in a moment have a camp of numerous tents pitched and habitable. The captain bought one of their garments, beautifully adorned, and valued in this country at a large sum of money, for fifteen biscuits.

Before the whaling season began we dug coal-pits and made us a supply of coal. Here we fell in with the other Indians, who go naked in all weathers, regardless of rain or sun or hail. We took two aboard and dressed them up in European clothes. They acted like monkeys, strutting about, looking at themselves and picking at their finery. They seemed to feel very awkward in such confinement, and when ashore and the novelty was over, soon cast it away.

We next ran to Port Famine, so named from the starvation of a colony of Spaniards, who, settling there, sent their ship home for provisions and stores. She never was heard from, and they died from hunger and privations.

At Port Otway we remained a month, then cruising off the coast of Patagonia, whaled and filled in three weeks. We returned to Chiloe Island and anchored in San Carlos for fresh provender and to recruit. While there I asked for a discharge, that I might to and live with a man whom I had been acquainted with. I got it, but two days afterward the captain sent a body of men after me. They took my chest, but I escaped that time.

It was not long though before they did capture me and took me aboard by force. I offered to go home in the “McDonough,” which they were loading to send off, but they denied my request, and I could not get away till Dec., in Valparaiso, when the consul sent me to a hospital.

I worked as cook in Valparaiso, in different employs, till the arrival of the “North Carolina,” March 22d, 1839. I boarded her, and got a berth for home. We touched at Rio Janeiro and lay there fourteen days, arriving in New York the 30th of June. I came on to Norwich and went to farming. In 1841 I coasted on the schooner “Rob Roy,” and then was cook for the Thames Hotel. As I kept spending all my money as fast as it was earned, I went out to West Hartford and worked on Talcott mountain, chopping wood. December, the same year, I signed the pledge, and since then have not touched a drop.

Then I went to Canterbury to keep out of temptation, and worked till March. During this time I began to think how wickedly I had lived all my days, throwing away time, and doing all kinds of evil, and wished to become better. I desired to go to church, but had no decent clothes—so, I staid home, still longing to go. In March I returned to West Hartford, arriving there just at the midst of the great revival. I attended the meetings every day regularly, and on the first Sunday in June was received into the Church.

In November I left Hartford for Norwich, and lived there and in Canterbury till March. My leg, which had never recovered from the injuries it had received during my slavery, now grew worse, and I was forced to go to the Seaman's Retreat, when, after three months, I was pronounced incurable. I returned to Norwich and lived at the Alms House, providing for myself, all but the room, until 1844, when I moved down to the Landing, and thence to the Retreat again, being this time sick with St. Anthony's fire. My leg was very troublesome, and after staying till I was tired and getting no better, I came back.

As I lay one night in great pain, I happened to think that houseleek and bitterwort made a cooling ointment, and the next morning, putting it to the test, it cured my disease immediately. Thus I worked along, cutting wood and paying my way till 1852. In August of that year, going to market, I procured part of a bass' liver. I eat it, and it tasted excellently, but poisoned me all over.

My sore broke out again. I had to go to the Retreat, and from thence to Sailors' Snug Harbor, where I remained two months and a half. It was a most wretched place, and when I could stay no longer I came home on leave and took a tenement on Washington street. Here I grew still worse and worse, suffering the most excruciating pain, till being unable to care for myself, or procure another house, I took refuge in the Alms House, Sept. 12, 1855.

Becoming still worse and nearly dying from the pain I endured, I at length resolved to have my leg taken off.

This was done the 16th of November, 1855, and though I was sorry to part with what had done me such faithful service, I felt resigned that what the Lord had given he also should take away.

I am now seventy-three years of age, by the blessing of God, in good health, and surrounded with kind and careful friends, at whose solicitation and for whose satisfaction I have given this record of my long and stormy life.