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    Chapter 14

    Money Matters — Highway Robbers — Searching Ships for Specie — A Lieutenant Shot — Sail for Home — Tobacco — Serious Reflections — Pass Cape Horn — Equator — North Star — Violent Gale — A Sudden Change of Wind — Desperate Position — Joyous Sight of Land — Vineyard Sound — Arrival in Boston — At Home — Another Voyage — Off the Capes of Virginia — Outward Bound.

    AS we received specie in payment for our cargoes of goods, and this, as well as gold and silver, was prohibited by the government from exportation, we were necessarily subjected to many inconveniences and losses in securing returns for our owners. Many of the captains trading in the Pacific were also supercargos. Being obliged to transact our business at two custom-houses, Callao and Lima, six miles apart, it became necessary to have our own horses to pass between the two places. When returning to Callao, we generally loaded our persons with as much specie in dollars and doubloons as it was deemed prudent to risk, in the bottoms of our boots, and in our waist-belts, buckled around us under our dress. We did this because we were liable to be robbed on the way, and also because we were subjected to an examination by custom-house officers before embarking to our ships in the harbor. We generally distributed portions of it among our boat’s crew until we got on board our vessels, and then deposited it for safe keeping on board one of our war-ships, paying the commander one per cent. for deposit.LELJB 173.2

    Our government officers in this way received and protected our property because it was ours. Two of my boat’s crew were examined one day as I was about to embark, and ordered to the custom-house. I followed them. They had some two hundred dollars on their persons. The two officers who stopped the men, after counting the sum, wished to know how much I would give them if they would let the sailors pass without reporting the matter to the custom-house. “One doubloon,” said I. “No;” said they, “we will divide with you.” I replied, “If you will not accept my offer, go and make your report and let the government take it all, if they will.” They attempted to show me that my proceedings had been unlawful, and that I would have trouble. I gave them to understand that I should only have to lose my money, but they something more, for offering to divide with me and appropriate the divided part to themselves. They concluded finally to return me all the money, except the doubloon I offered them. These men never troubled me when I was embarking after that. One day a small party of men were passing down with money, when a party of armed men on horseback rushed out upon them and demanded their money, and required them to strip off their clothing to be sure of getting all they had. After securing all, they fled to the mountains.LELJB 174.1

    The ship Friendship, of Salem, Mass., was reported as having eleven thousand dollars on board, after having sold her cargo in Lima. The government sent a company of soldiers with officers of the custom-house to take possession of her. They made diligent search, but found none; still they kept charge of the ship for many days, and caused much trouble. The money was there, stowed away so snugly between the “carlings” overhead in the cabin, where the ceiling was finished and painted, that one would not have suspected money could be there. After the government gave up the ship to the supercargo again, he took out the money and transported it to the United States ship Franklin, 74. Soon after this, a Boston ship was taken possession of in the harbor, in the night, and it was several months before the captain, who pursued her, recovered and brought her back.LELJB 175.1

    In conversation one day with one of the Peruvian officers, who was boasting of the independence of Peru, and its freedom from the Spanish government, he was asked what his view of freedom was. “Why,” said he, “if you have a good horse and I want him, if I am stronger than you, I’ll take the horse!” It rather seemed that others, when they wanted our money and ships, were of the same opinion.LELJB 175.2

    While we were here, a lieutenant in the Peruvian patriot army absconded and joined their enemy. He was taken, tried, and condemned to be shot without the walls of the city of Lima. This was a manner of taking life which I had never witnessed. To gratify my curiosity I passed on with the vast multitude of citizens, and took my position on the top of the city wall, very near the place where the condemned man was seated, who was attended by a Catholic priest. A cap was soon drawn over his eyes. In front of him, military officers were drilling and marshaling their troops, until about the appointed hour for him to be shot, when they were all arranged in columns, the front ranks about twenty yards from the condemned. At the word of command some six men advanced from the ranks within a few yards of the poor man, and levelled their muskets at his head. Again at the word of command they fired. His head dropped on his shoulder, seemingly as quick as if it had been severed by a cleaver. He seemed to die without a struggle. The squadron army then wheeled away with the deafening sound of martial music. The dead man was carried away to his long home. The excitement of the morning was passed. I soon found myself almost solitary amid the vast concourse of citizens returning slowly to their places of abode, resolving in my mind that I never would voluntarily go to see another man shot.LELJB 176.1

    I had now been in the Pacific Ocean about fourteen months, and was closing my business and preparing to return to the United States. The ship Candace, Capt. F. Burtody, was about to sail for Boston, Mass., in which ship I engaged my passage.LELJB 176.2

    Capt. B. and myself mutually agreed, when the Candace weighed her anchor, that we would from that hour cease chewing tobacco. About the last week of November, 1823, all hands were called to weigh anchor. None but those who experience these feelings can tell the thrill that fills every soul, from the captain to the cabin-boy, when the order is given to “weigh anchor for home.” New life, with energy and strength, seems to actuate all on board. The hardy sailors clinch their hand-spikes, the windlass begins to roll and bring the watery cable on deck. The gallant ship, seemingly participating with her joyous crew, advances step by step to her anchor, until the officer cries out, “Hold! the cable is a-peak!” The top-sails are now loosed, sheeted home, and hoisted to the mast-head, and the yards are braced to cant the ship’s head out of the harbor. The windlass is now manned again. The ship is soon up with her anchor. A few more turns of the windlass, and the anchor breaks its hold, and the gallant ship is free. The anchor is up and swung to the cat-head, and the ship’s sails fill with the freshening gale. The sailors cry, “We are homeward bound.” The feelings of the sailors still left in the harbor are something like these: “That ship has weighed her anchor, and is standing out of the harbor, bound for home. Success to them. I wish we were going, too.” No matter how many seas there are to pass, or how many storms to meet, or how far from home, the joyous feeling still vibrates in every heart—“Home, home, sweet home. Our anchor’s weighed for home!”LELJB 177.1

    Our good ship now lay by with her main topsail to the mast, until the boat came along-side from the commodore with our specie and silver, which Capt. B. and myself had gained by trading. When this was all safe on board, all sail was made on the ship. It was now night, and we were passing our last landmark (St. Lorenzo), and putting out for a long voyage of eight thousand and five hundred miles. The steward reported supper ready. “Here goes my tobacco, Bates,” said Capt. B., taking it from his mouth and casting it overboard. “And here goes mine, too,” said I, and that was the last that has ever polluted my lips. But Capt. B. failed to overcome, and labored hard with me to keep him company. I was now free from all distilled spirits, wine, and tobacco. Step by step I had gained this victory-nature never required either. I never used the articles, except to keep company with my associates. How many millions have been ruined by such debasing and ruinous habits. How much more like a human being I felt when I had gained the mastery in these things and overcome them all. I was also making great efforts to conquer another crying sin, which I had learned of wicked sailors. That was the habit of using profane language. My father had been a praying man from the time I had any knowledge of him. My mother embraced religion when I was about twelve years old. I never dared, even after I was married, to speak irreverently of God in the presence of my father. As he had endeavored to train me in the way I should go, I knew the way, but the checkered scenes of the previous sixteen years of my life had thrown me from the track, which I was endeavoring now to regain. On our voyage from Cape Horn into the Pacific, I tried hard to break myself of the evil habit of swearing, and said to my brother that he must not swear, nor allow the sailors to do so, for I should not permit it. As I had plenty of leisure now, I read much of my time, and very often, especially on Sundays, many chapters in the Bible. By so doing I concluded that I was making myself a tolerably good Christian.LELJB 178.1

    Our good ship continued to gain onward, and on reaching Cape Horn, we encountered a driving storm; but the wind was fair to go eastward, so that in forty-eight hours we were safely round the Horn, in the South Atlantic Ocean, steering northward for home. As we approached the equator, some of the well-known stars in the northern hemisphere began to make their appearance-particularly the “Pointers,” that always direct the wandering mariner to the north star. As our good Candace still continued to urge her way from the Southern Ocean to the equator, the “Pointers” indicated that the north star was at the northern horizon.LELJB 179.1

    The night was clear and the watch on deck were all awaiting the appearance of the north star. At length it was seen just breaking from the mist of the northern horizon, apparently four or five feet above the surface of the ocean. The first sight of this well-known star to the mariners ascending from the Southern Ocean is often more cheering to their hearts than twenty-four hours of fair wind. If we had no way to ascertain our latitude by nautical instruments, we should know by the foregoing appearance of this star, that we were at least one hundred and twenty miles north of the equator. As our good Queen Candace advanced in her onward course into the Northern Ocean, staggering under the freshening gale from the north-east trades, our hearts were cheered night after night on seeing the very same star rising still higher and higher in the northern heavens-an unmistakable sign that we were rapidly advancing northward, nearer, and still nearer home.LELJB 179.2

    I have heard it stated of the Portugese sailors, that when their ships were returning on their homeward voyages from South America to Portugal, as soon as they saw the north star above the northern horizon, it was the time and place where they settled with, and paid off their ship’s crew up to that date.LELJB 180.1

    We had now passed to the windward of the West India Islands, away from the influence of the north-east trade-winds, and were drawing into the dreaded Gulf Stream on the southern coast of North America, scudding onward before a rapidly increasing south-east gale, appearing very much like the one of 1818 which I had experienced on board the ship Frances, before referred to. Capt. B. and myself brought to remembrance our former experience in such trying times, and the dangerous position ships are placed in at meeting an instantaneous change of wind in such driving storms, often rendering them unmanageable, especially in and about this stream.LELJB 180.2

    The Candace was in good ballast trim, and perhaps as well prepared to contend with such a storm as almost any other ship. She was now scudding before the terrific gale under a reefed foresail, and main top-sail. As the dark night set in, the elements seemed in fearful commotion. The important work with officers and helmsmen now was to keep the ship dead, or directly before the mountainous seas. As Capt. B. had stationed himself on the quarter-deck, to give all necessary orders respecting the management of the ship during the violence of the storm, and my confidence being unshaken in his nautical skill, I concluded to go below and rest if I could, and like other passengers, be out of the way.LELJB 180.3

    The rain was falling fast, and about midnight I heard a fearful cry, “The ship’s aback!” another cry to the helmsman, and another for all hands on deck! I rushed to the cabin gangway, where I saw that what we had most dreaded had come, viz., the raging gale from the south-east had ceased all of a sudden, and was now raging from the opposite quarter. As soon as I got on deck I saw that the storm-sails were pressing against the mast, and the ship’s head was paying around westward against the awful mountainous seas, which seemed almost to rush over us from the south, and threaten our immediate destruction. Capt. B., and all the ship’s company that could be seen, were hauling with all their strength on the starboard main-braces. Seeing the imminent danger we were in, without stopping to think that I was only a passenger, I cried out at the top of my voice, “Let go the starboard main-braces, and come over on this side of the ship, and haul in the larboard main-braces!” Capt. B. had supposed that the ship would obey her helm, and pay her head off to the eastward. When my shouting arrested his attention, he saw that the ship’s head was moving the opposite way. They then let go the starboard braces and crowded over and hauled in the larboard braces. The sails filled, and the ship was once more under good headway, though in a most dangerous position from the awful sea on her lee-beam. Before her sails filled she had lost her headway, and but just escaped being overwhelmed with a rushing sea, which gave her the appearance of going down stern foremost. How she escaped being engulfed with this sea was beyond our wisdom to discern. After order was restored, I apologized to the captain for assuming to take the command of his ship, and was cheerfully and freely forgiven.LELJB 181.1

    With the passing of the gale we crossed the Gulf, and sounded in deep water on the coast. We now realized that it was mid-winter. At length the joyful cry was raised, “Land, ho!” It proved to be Block Island, R. I. Joyful sight, indeed, to see our own native land, within forty miles of home, looming in the distance. Yes; to see any land after watching sky and water for three long months, was a great relief. But here comes a pilot boat. “Where are you from?” “Pacific Ocean.” “Where are you bound?” “To Boston.” “Will you take a pilot through the Vineyard Sound? It’s always the safest way in the winter season.” “Yes, come along-side.” In a few minutes more the pilot had full charge of the ship, bearing down for the Vineyard Sound. The pilot-boat then steers out to sea to meet another homeward-bound ship. The next thing is, “What’s the news in the States, pilot?” “What’s the news from Europe?” “What’s the state of the world?” “Who’s to be our next president?” etc., etc. Hardly waiting for an answer, “Have you any newspapers?” “Yes; but they are not the last.” “No matter, they will be new to us; it’s a long time since we have heard anything from the land of the living.”LELJB 182.1

    At night we cast our anchor in Holmes’ Hole, a spacious harbor in the Vineyard for ships wind-bound for Boston. A number of boats were soon along-side. From the many baskets of various kinds of pies, fried cakes, apples, etc., etc., that these people presented on our decks, we were led to suppose that the good people on shore divined that we were very hungry for their good things. Indeed, we feasted for a little while. Their boats were also well stocked with large baskets of yarn stockings, mittens, etc. A supply of these was likewise very acceptable at this cold season. On leaving the ship in the evening, there was quite a stir among the boatmen to find their baskets. One man was looking round in the cabin passage, inquiring of his neighbor John if he had seen anything of his “knitting work.” What, thought I, do men knit stockings here? Do they carry their knitting work about with them? I soon learned that it was his basket of stockings which he called his knitting work. The wind favored us, and we were soon passing around Cape Cod into Massachusetts Bay, and the next day anchored off the city of Boston, somewhere about the 20th of February, 1824, after a passage of three months from Callao Bay.LELJB 183.1

    Our voyage was a very profitable one, but unfortunately one of the two owners failed during the voyage, which cost much time and expense before a settlement was accomplished.LELJB 183.2

    Fifty-five miles by stage, and I was once more at home. A little blue-eyed girl of sixteen months, whom I had never seen, was here waiting with her mother to greet me, and welcome me once more to our comfortable and joyous fire-side. As I had been absent from home over two years, I designed to enjoy the society of my family and friends for a little season. After a few months, however, I engaged myself to go another voyage to South America, or anywhere I could find business profitable. A new brig was now launched, rigged, and fitted to our liking, named the Empress, of New Bedford. Part of an assorted cargo was received on board in New Bedford. From thence we sailed about the 15th of August, 1824, for Richmond, Va., to finish our lading with flour for Rio Janeiro and a market.LELJB 183.3

    After finishing our lading in Richmond, we passed down James River and anchored in Hampton Roads, to procure our armament in Norfolk. Finding no cannon mounted, we proceeded on our voyage without one. It is not as necessary now for merchantmen to carry guns as it was then, on account of piratical vessels. September 5, we discharged our pilot off Cape Henry light-house, and shaped our course east southerly, to meet the north-east trades.LELJB 184.1

    From the time I resolved to drink no more wine (in 1822), I had occasionally drank beer and cider. But now on weighing anchor from Hampton Roads I decided from henceforth to drink neither ale, porter, beer, nor cider of any description. My prospect for making a profitable and successful voyage was now more flattering than my last, for I now owned a part of the Empress and her cargo, and had the confidence of my partners to sell and purchase cargoes as often as it would prove to our advantage, and use my judgment about going to what part of the world I pleased. But with all these many advantages to get riches, I felt sad and homesick. I had provided myself with a number of what I called interesting books, to read in my leisure hours. My wife thought there were more novels and romances than were necessary. In packing my trunk of books, she placed a pocket New Testament, unknown to me, on the top of them. On opening this trunk to find some books to interest me, I took up the New Testament, and found in the opening page the following interesting piece of poetry, by Mrs. Hemans, placed there to arrest my attention:—LELJB 184.2

    “Leaves have their time to fall,
    And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath,
    And stars to set-but all,
    Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
    LELJB 185.1

    “Day is for mortal care,
    Eve for glad meetings round the joyous hearth,
    Night, for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer,
    But all for thee, thou mightiest of the earth.
    LELJB 185.2

    “Youth and the opening rose
    May look like things too glorious for decay,
    And smile at thee-but thou art not of those
    That wait the ripened bloom to seize their prey.
    LELJB 185.3

    “We know when moons shall wane,
    When summer birds from far shall cross the sea,
    When autumn’s hue shall tinge the golden grain,
    But who shall teach us when to look for thee?
    LELJB 185.4

    “Is it when spring’s first gale
    Comes forth to whisper where the violets lie?
    Is it when roses in our path grow pale?
    They have one season-all are ours to die!
    LELJB 185.5

    “Thou art where billows foam,
    Thou art where music melts upon the air;
    Thou art around us in our peaceful home,
    And the world calls us forth-and thou art there.”
    LELJB 185.6

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