THE REAL AMERICA IN ROMANCE
The Age of Liberty Established
JOHN R. MUSICK
FREELAND A. CARTER
Written history is generally too scholastic to interest the great mass of readers. Dignified and formal, it deals mainly with great events, and often imperfectly with these, because, not pausing to present clear impression by the associations of individual life, it conveys a stiff and unnatural opinion of the past. Historians ignore the details which go to make up the grand sum total of history, and from the very best histories one can get but a meagre idea of the life and times of the people of bygone ages. It is these minor details of past events which lend to fiction its greatest charm, and attract the multitude, by appearing more like truth. Although untrue in the particular combinations, scenes and plots delineated, yet well written fiction is drawn from nature and experience, and these facts in life, as with chessmen, are only arranged in new but natural positions. History should include everything in the nature, character, customs and incidents, both general and individual, that contribute to originate what is peculiar in a people, or what causes their advancement or decline. So broad is its scope, that nothing is too mighty for its grasp—so searching, scarce anything is too minute. Were written history a clear transcript of valuable incidents, it would be more enticing than the most fascinating fiction.
It is the purpose of this volume to deal with some of the remote and direct causes of the second war with England, by endeavoring, as nearly as our ability will permit, to transport the reader back to the scenes of eighty or ninety years ago, and give views of the incidents which clustered around the events of that time.
The war of 1812 has been properly termed by some historians the second war for independence; for, in truth, the independence of the United States of America was not established until after that event. Great Britain across the ocean and the horde of Tories still in America had not abandoned all hope of yet making the United States a dependency of the country from which she had fought seven long years to free herself. The war of 1812 was never fought to a finish. In some respects it was a drawn fight. Its results were not satisfactory to the patriotic American, and certainly were not to Great Britain. The contemptible "Peace Faction" continually crippled the administration all through the contest of nearly three years.
After studying the patriotism of New England through the War of the Revolution, one is surprised at the unpatriotic actions of that section of the United States in 1812. One can hardly believe that it was party fealty and political hatred of the democratic party alone which made these formerly patriotic colonies and States hot-beds of sedition and treason. It looks as if those States, having built up a flourishing trade with Great Britain, cared little about the impressment of sailors, or the enslaving of their countrymen, so long as they filled their own pockets. The men seized were usually poor, and their happiness, liberty and life were lightly regarded in comparison with the prosperity of the "Peace Party" merchant. If patriotism were dormant in the East, however, in the growing West, and the generous South it was strong. From those sections came the hardy sons of liberty, who taught Johnny Bull anew to respect the rights of the common people. Though the treaty of peace was not satisfactory in many particulars, it more clearly defined the lines between the United States and British possessions in America, leaving the fishery question and the right to search and impressment in an unsettled condition, giving the "Peace Party" an opportunity to say, "I told you so."
An attempt is made in this story to cover the whole period of the war and the causes leading up to it, treating it from the standpoint of an individual of the time. The pioneers of seventy-five years ago were a hardy race, long since disappeared. We hope that from Fernando Stevens, the hero of this volume, the reader may derive some idea of pioneer life as it then was. Fernando Stevens was a namesake of the cabin-boy of Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to America, Hernando Estevan, of whom he was a lineal descendant. The hero of this volume was a son of Albert Stevens, a Revolutionary soldier, who was a son of Colonel Noah Stevens, of the French and Indian War, who was a son of Elmer Stevens of early Virginia history, a son of Robert Stevens of the time of Bacon's Rebellion. He was a son of John Smith Stevens, of the early Virginia history, who was the son of Philip Stevens, or Philip Estevan, the young Spaniard who was the personal friend of Captain John Smith and helped lay the foundation of Jamestown. He was a son of Francisco Estevan of St. Augustine, who was a son of Christopher Estevan of Cuba, a companion of Pizarro and De Soto, and he was a son of Hernando Estevan, who went as cabin-boy with Columbus on his memorable first voyage in which he discovered the Western Hemisphere.
This scion of a long line of stalwart but not famous ancestors is the one whose adventures we now narrate. Like his ancestors, he was only one of the rank and file of Americans, whose names are seldom seen in print, but who, after all, go to make up the true history of our glorious republic. Fernando's adventures, with those of Morgianna, the mysterious waif of the sea, form the romance of this story.
JOHN E. MUSICK.
KIRKSVILLE, Mo., July 11th, 1893.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
CHAPTER I. THE YOUNG EMIGRANT
CHAPTER II. MORGIANNA
CHAPTER III. JEFFERSONIANISM
CHAPTER IV. BRITISH CRUISERS
CHAPTER V. FERNANDO'S JOURNEY EAST. HE MEETS WITH QUEER PEOPLE
CHAPTER VI. WAR FEELING OF 1811
CHAPTER VII. FERNANDO'S FRIEND GETS HIM INTO A SERIOUS SCRAPE
CHAPTER VIII. THE BELLE OF THE BEACH
CHAPTER IX. THE ENGLISHMAN'S DILEMMA
CHAPTER X. THE SILENT GUNNER
CHAPTER XI. SHIPWRECK, ESCAPE AND RETURN TO OHIO
CHAPTER XII. WAR
CHAPTER XIII. THE PEACE PARTY
CHAPTER XIV. FERNANDO SEES SERVICE
CHAPTER XV. ON LAND
CHAPTER XVI. ON WATER
CHAPTER XVII. THE CRUISER'S THREAT
CHAPTER XVIII. THE SAVING SHOT
CHAPTER XIX. NEW ORLEANS
CHAPTER XX. CONCLUSION
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
They took a last look at the spots which were hallowed by association
Emigrants' wagon crossing a stream
Carried the ship by the board after a terrible hand-to-hand conflict
"Do you think dar is any Angler-Saxun blood in dese veins?"
Fulton's Clermont, the first steamboat
As near perfection as a girl of sixteen can be
That smile and that eternal stare disconcerted the British officer
"You surrender easily,"
He sat down on a broken mast
The boatswain's mate brought the terrible scourge hissing and crackling on the young and tender back
He saw Captain Bones and his lieutenant trying to hide behind a barrel
It soon became evident that he did not intend to drown her
John C. Calhoun
"Lave it all to me"
"My brave Kentucky lads, to us is accorded the honor of winning this battle. Forward!"
They came together in an earnest struggle
"My father will protect me; I want no other protection"
Sukey's thumb lifted the hammer of his gun
Packenham fell bleeding and dying in the arms of Sir Duncan McDougal
Map of the period
THE YOUNG EMIGRANT.
The first recollections of Fernando Stevens, the hero of this romance, were of "moving." He was sitting on his mother's knee. How long he had been sitting there he did not know, nor did he know how he came there; but he knew that it was his mother and that they were in a great covered wagon, and that he had a sister and brother, older than himself, in the wagon. The wagon was filled with household effects, which he seemed to know belonged to that mother on whose knee he sat and that father who was sitting on the box driving the horses which pulled the wagon. Fernando Stevens was never exactly certain as to his age at the time of this experience; but he could not have been past three, and perhaps not more than two years old, when he thus found himself with his father's family and all their effects in a wagon going somewhere.
He knew not from whence they came, nor did he know whither they were going. It was pleasant to sit on his mother's knee and with his great blue eyes watch those monster horses jogging along dragging after them the great world, which in his limited comprehension was all the world he knew,—the covered wagon. Suddenly some bright, revolving object attracted his attention, and he fixed his eyes on it. It was the wagon tire, and he saw it crushing and killing the grass at the side of the road, or rolling and flattening down the dust in long streaks.
Then they descended a hill. It was not a long hill, but seemed rather steep. There was water at the bottom. He remembered seeing the bright, sparkling wavelets and never forgot the impression they produced. There was a boat at the bottom of the hill, and the wagon and horses were driven into the boat. A man and boy began propelling the long sweeps or oars. He watched the proceeding in infantile wonder and especially remembered how the water dropped in sparkling crystals from the oar blades. The boy had on a red cap or fez with a tassel. That boy, that cap and that oar with the sparkling dripping water from the blade were to him the brightest pictures and greatest wonders he had ever known.
He had not the least idea why the man and boy dipped those oars into the water and pulled them out all dripping and pretty, unless it was to amuse him. The oars were painted blue. He did not know where they were going, or when this journey would end, or that it was a journey.
Thus Fernando Stevens began life. This was the first page in his existence that he could recollect. In after years he knew he was Fernando Stevens, that his father was Albert Stevens, a soldier in the War of the Revolution, that his kind, sweet-faced mother was Estella Stevens, and that the very first experience he could remember was that of the family emigrating to the great Ohio valley.
Albert Stevens was married shortly after the close of the Revolutionary War, and he tried hard to succeed in New England; but he had no trade and no profession, and the best lands in the country were bought. Seven years of his early life, with all his dawning manhood had been spent in the army, and now with his family of three children he found himself poor. Congress had made a treaty with the Indians by which the vast territory of the Ohio valley was thrown open to white settlers, and he resolved to emigrate to where land was cheap, purchase a home and grow up with the country.
Resolved to emigrate, the father collected his little property and provided himself with a wagon and four horses, some cows, a rifle, a shot-gun and an axe. His trusty dog became the companion of his journey. In his wagon he placed his bedding, his provisions and such cooking utensils as were indispensable. Everything being ready, his wife and the three children took their seats, Fernando, the youngest, on his mother's knee; while the father of the family mounted the box. The horses were started and the great vehicle began to move. As they passed through the village which had been to them the scene of many happy hours, they took a last look at the spots which were hallowed by association—the church with its lowly spire, an emblem of that humility which befits a Christian, and the burial-ground, where the weeping willow bent mournfully over the head-stone which marked the graves of their parents. The children, who were old enough to remember, never forgot their playground, nor the white schoolhouse where the rudiments of an education were instilled into their minds.
Their road was at first, comparatively smooth and their journey pleasant. Their progress was interrupted by divers little incidents; while the continual changes in the appearance of the country around them, and the anticipation of what was to come, prevented those feelings of despondency, which might otherwise have arisen on leaving a much loved home. When the roads became bad or hilly, the family quit the wagon and trudged along on foot, the mother carrying the baby Fernando in her arms. At sunset, their day's journey finished, they halted in the forest by the roadside to prepare their supper and pass the night. The horses were unharnessed, watered and secured with their heads to the trough until they had eaten their meagre allowance of corn and oats, and then were hobbled out to grass. Over the camp fire the mother prepared the frugal supper, which being over, the emigrants arranged themselves for the night, while the faithful dog kept watch. Amid all the privations and vicissitudes in their journey, they were cheered by the consciousness that each day lessened the distance between them and the land of promise, whose fertile soil was to recompense them for all their trials and hardships.
Gradually, as they advanced west, the roads became more and more rough and were only passable in many places by logs having been placed side by side, forming what was termed corduroy roads. The axe and rifle of the emigrant, or mover as he is still termed in the west, were brought daily and almost hourly into use. With the former he cut saplings, or small trees, to throw across the roads, which, in many places, were almost impassable; while with his rifle he killed squirrels, wild turkeys, or such game as the forest afforded, for their provisions were in a few days exhausted. If, perchance, a buck crossed his path, and he brought it down by a lucky shot, it was carefully dressed and hung up in the forks of the trees; fires were built, and the meat cut into small strips and smoked and dried for future subsistence.
As they advanced, the road through the woods became more difficult to travel, the trees being merely felled and drawn aside, so as to permit a wheeled carriage to pass; and the emigrant was often obliged to be guided in his route only by the blaze of the surveyor on the trees, and at every few rods to cut away the branches which obstructed his passage. As the stroke of the axe reverberated through the woods, no answer came back to assure him of the presence of friend or foe. At night in these solitudes, they heard the wolves stealing through the gloom, sniffing the scent of the intruders; and now and then, then bloodshot eyes of the catamount glared through the foliage.
Days, weeks and months passed in this toilsome journey through the wilderness, so indelibly impressing it on the memory of Fernando Stevens, that he never, to his dying day, forgot that journey. At last they arrived at the landmarks which, to Albert Stevens, indicated the proximity of his possessions. A location for the cabin was selected near a small stream of running water, on the south side of a slight elevation.
No time was lost. The trees were immediately felled, and in a short time Fernando, looking out from the covered wagon, perceived a clear space of ground of but few rods in circumference. Stakes, forked at the top, were driven into the ground, on which the father placed logs, and the chinks between these were stopped with clay. An enclosure was thus hastily thrown up to protect the family from the weather, and the wife and children were removed to this improvised abode. The trunks of the trees were rolled to the edge of the clearing, and surmounted by stakes driven crosswise into the ground: the severed tops and branches of trees piled on top of the logs, thus forming a brush fence. By degrees the surrounding trees were "girdled" and killed. Those that would split were cut down and made into rails, while others were left to rot or logged up and burned.
A year showed a great improvement in the pioneer's home. Several acres had been added to the clearing, and the place began to assume the appearance of a farm. The temporary shanty had given place to a comfortable log cabin; and although the chimney was built of small sticks placed one on the other, and filled in between with clay, occupying almost one whole end of the cabin, it showed that the inward man was duly attended to; and the savory fumes of venison, of the prairie hen and other good things went far to prove that even backwoods life was not without its comforts. [Footnote: The author has often heard his mother say that the most enjoyable period of her life was in a pioneer home similar to the above.]
In a few months, the retired cabin, once so solitary, became the nucleus of a little settlement. Other sections and quarter sections of land were entered at the land office by new corners. New portions of ground were cleared, cabins were erected; and in a short time the settlement could turn out a dozen efficient hands for house raising or log rolling. A saw mill soon after was erected at the falls of the creek; the log huts received a poplar weather boarding, and, as the little settlement increased, other improvements appeared; a mail line was established, and before many years elapsed, a fine road was completed to the nearest town, and a stage coach, which ran once, then twice a week, connected the settlement with the populous country to the east of it.
This was the life the hero of this story began. It might be said to be an unromantic life; yet such a life was known to many of our American ancestors. It had its pleasures as well as its pains. It had its poetry as well as its prose, and its joys as well as its sorrows. The vastness of the forest and depths of the solitude by which he was surrounded, made its impress on his mind. He grew up in ignorance of tyranny and many of the evils of the great cities.
The cabin home and the narrow clearing about it formed his playground. His first toy was a half-bushel measure, which he called his "bushee!" This he rolled before him around the log cabin and the paths made in the tall grass, frequently to the dread of his mother, who feared that he might encounter some of the deadly serpents with which the forest abounded. He remembered on one occasion, when his mother found him going too far, she called:
"Come back, Fernando; mother is afraid you will step on a snake."
He looked about him with the confidence of childhood, and answered:
"No 'nakes here."
Just at that moment, the mother, to her horror, saw a deadly reptile coiled in the very path along which the child was rolling his "bushee," and with true frontier woman's pluck, ran and snatched up the bare-footed Fernando, when only within two feet of the deadly serpent, carried him to the house, and with the stout staff assailed and killed the rattlesnake.
He remembered seeing the wild deer bound past the cabin door, and one day his father killed one. The big dog called "Bob," on account of the shortness of his caudal appendage, on another occasion leaped on a wild buck as he was passing the house, and seized the animal, holding it until it was slain. Wild turkeys were common; he saw them in great flocks in the woods, and did not suppose they could ever become extinct.
Fernando never forgot his first pair of shoes. He had grown to be quite a lad, and his bare feet had trod the paths in the forest, and over the prairies in summer and late in autumn, until they had become hardened. In winter his mother had made him moccasins out of deer skins; but he was at last informed that he was going to have a pair of shoes, such as he had seen some children from the eastern States wear. His joy at this intelligence knew no bounds. He dreamed of those shoes at night, and they formed the theme of his conversation by day. His sister, who was the oldest of the children, had been the happy possessor of three pairs of shoes, and she often discussed knowingly the good qualities of pedal coverings and of their advantages in travelling through brambles or over stones. Often as he contemplated his scratched, chapped and bruised feet, the child had asked himself if it were possible that he should ever be able to afford such a luxury as a real pair of shoes.
Money was scarce, luxuries scarcer. The frontier people lived hard, worked hard, slept sound, and enjoyed excellent health.
Though little Fernando had never owned a real pair of shoes in his life, so far as he could remember, he possessed a strong mind and body, and no prince was his superior. He had, as yet, never been to school a day, but from the great book of nature he had imbibed sublimity and loftiness of thought, which only painters and poets feel.
Though he was shoeless, he was inspired with lofty ideas of freedom such as many reared in cities never dream about. The father had to make a long journey to some far-away place for the shoes. The day before starting all the children were made to put their feet on the floor, while the parents measured them with strings, and tied knots to indicate the size of shoes to be purchased. At last the measures were obtained, and the father put them in the pocket of his buckskin hunting jacket. Then he harnessed the horses to the wagon and, with, his trusty rifle for his only companion, drove away. Bob, the faithful watch-dog, was very anxious to accompany him, and whined and howled for two or three days; but he was kept at home to defend the family. A faithful protector was Bob, and woe to the intruder who dared to annoy the household while he was around. Fernando waited patiently and long for the return of his father. Every night before retiring to his trundle-bed, he would ask his mother if "father would come next day."
At last the joyous shout of the older children announced the approach of the wagon. They ran down the road to meet it. The horses jogged along with the wagon, which rolled and jolted over the ground to the house. The wagon was unloaded. There were bags of meal and flour, coffee and tea, and then came the calico and cotton goods, jugs of molasses and a barrel of sugar. The shoes were in a box and finally brought out.
A great disappointment was in store for Fernando. His shoes were too small. The father had lost the string and purchased the shoes "by guess." Fernando tried hard to squeeze his foot into the little green coverings; but they were so small and there was danger of bursting them. Father had to go back to the land office in a day or two and would exchange them. He rode off on the white mare, "old Betts," and on his return had a pair of shoes large enough for Fernando.
They were awkward at first and cramped, pinched and galled his feet. His mother made him a suit of clothes of "blue drilling" and next Sabbath the whole family got into the wagon and drove off eight miles to Bear Creek to "meeting."
The people of the west were as thorough a combination and mixture of all nations, characters, languages, conditions and opinions as can well be imagined. Scarcely a nation in Europe, or a State in the union, that did not furnish emigrants for the great west. The greater mass from Europe were of the humble classes, who came from hunger, poverty and oppression. They found themselves here with the joy of shipwrecked mariners cast on the untenanted woods, and instantly became cheered with the hope of being able to build up a family and a fortune from new elements.
The Puritan and the planter, the German, the Briton, the Frenchman, the Irishman and the Swede, each with his peculiar prejudices and local attachments, and all the complicated and interwoven tissue of sentiments, feelings and thoughts, that country, kindred and home, indelibly combined with the web of youthful existence, settled down beside each other. The merchant, mechanic and farmer found themselves placed by necessity in the same society. Men must cleave to their kind and must be dependent upon each other. Pride and jealousy give way to the natural yearnings of the human heart for society. They began to rub off mutual prejudices. One took a step and then the other. They met half way and embraced; and the society thus newly organized and constituted was more liberal, enlarged, unprejudiced, and of course more affectionate and pleasant than a society of people of like birth and character, who would bring all their early prejudices as a common stock, to be transmitted as an inheritance to posterity.
Depending only on God and nature, the simple backwoodsman came to regard God as his only master and, like the Swiss patriot, would bow his knee to none other. Men were left free to adopt such religious views and tenets as they chose, and the generous laws protected every man alike in his religious opinions. Ministers of the gospel and priests, being presumed to be devoted to humanity, charity and general benevolence, were precluded by many State constitutions from any participation in the legislative authority, and their compensation depended wholly upon the voluntary aid of those among whom they labored in charity and love. In the wide district where the Stevens lived, the country was too sparsely settled to support a stationed minister, and "preaching" was a luxury. Unsustained by the rigid precepts of law in any privileges, perquisites, fixed revenue, prescribed by reverence or authority, except such as was voluntarily acknowledged, the clergy found that success depended upon the due cultivation of popular talents. Zeal for the great cause mixed, perhaps, with a spice of earthly ambition, the innate sense of emulation and laudable pride, a desire of distinction among their cotemporaries and brethren, prompted them to seek popularity, and to study all the arts and means of winning the popular favor.
Travelling from month to month through dark forests, with such ample time for deep thought, as they ambled slowly along the lonesome horse path or unfrequented roads, they naturally acquired a pensive and romantic turn of thought and expression, which is often favorable to eloquence. Hence their preaching was of the highly popular cast, such as immortalized Peter Cartwright. The first aim was to excite the ministers; hence, too, excitement, or, in religious parlance, "awakenings," or "revivals" became common. Living remote from each other, and spending much of their time in domestic solitude in vast forests or wide spreading prairies, the "appointment" for preaching was looked upon as a gala-day, or a pleasing change, which brought together the auditors from remote points, and gratified a feeling of curiosity, which prompted the pioneers to associate and interchange cordial congratulations.
As yet no meeting house had been erected in all the region where the Stevens lived. The meeting on Bear Creek was at the home of Mr. Moore, who was the happy possessor of a "double log cabin." One cabin or room was cleared of furniture, and sawn boards, placed on sticks of wood on end, furnished the seats. These were occupied and the "entry" between the cabins was filled by children. The preacher, who was also chorister, took his position near the door so as to accommodate those without as well as those within. He opened his saddle-bags and, pushing back his soiled linen, took out his bible and hymn-book and, proceeding to "line a hymn," "started it" himself, the congregation all joining.
Fernando Stevens had heard from his sister about these wonderful meetings; but he had never dreamed that a score of voices could raise such an uproar, and he ceased admiring his new shoes, while he fixed his eyes in terror on the capacious mouth of a pious old man, who, in his fervent zeal, was singing with all his might. As he sounded forth each resonant note, louder than the preceding, his mouth opened wider and wider, until Fernando took alarm and climbed upon his father's knee.
At this critical moment, there came on the air a cracking sound, and one of the boards which served the purpose of a pew broke in the centre and came down with a crash, precipitating nearly half a score of buxom, screaming girls into a promiscuous heap upon the floor. This was too much for Fernando. He could not but attribute the disaster to the wide-mouthed singer, and he screamed so lustily in his fright, that his father took him from the house to calm his fears.
Fernando's first experience at "meeting" was not very encouraging; but he did not despair. Soon after their return home he heard the family begin to speak of the "camp-meeting," and learned that one was to be held at the head waters of Bear Creek, not far from the home of Mr. Moore, and that the family was going.
On the appointed day they took their places in the wagon and started for the camp ground. Notice of the camp-meeting had been circulated for several weeks or months, and all were eager to attend. The country for fifty miles around was excited with the cheerful anticipation of the approaching festival of religious feeling and social friendship. When the Stevenses arrived on the grounds, wagons and carts, coaches and old family chaises, people on horseback and on foot, in multitudes, with provision wagons, tents, mattresses, household implements and cooking utensils, were seen hurrying from every direction toward the central point. The camp was in the midst of a grove of beautiful, lofty, umbrageous trees, natural to the western country, clothed in their deepest verdure, and near a sparkling stream, which supplied the host with fresh water. White tents started up in the grove, and soon a sylvan village sprang up as if by magic. The tents and booths were pitched in a semi-circle, or in a four-sided parallelogram, inclosing an area of two acres or more, for the arrangement of seats and aisles around a rude pulpit and altar for the thronging multitude, all eager to hear the heavenly messenger.
Fernando beheld all in a maze of wonder, and half believed this was that Heaven of which his mother had told him so much. He half expected to see the skies open and the son of God descend in all his glory. Toward night, the hour of solemn service approached, and the vast sylvan bower of the deep umbrageous forest was illuminated by numerous lamps suspended around the line of tents which encircled the public area and beside the rustic altars distributed over the same, which sent forth a glare of light from the fagot fires upon the worshipping throng, and the majestic forest with an imposing effect, which elevated the soul to fit converse with its creator, God.
The scenery of the most brilliant theatre of the world was only a painting for children compared with this. Meantime, the multitude, with the highest excitement of social feeling, added to the general enthusiasm of expectation, was passing from tent to tent interchanging apostolic greetings and embraces, while they talked of the approaching solemnities. A few minutes sufficed to finish the evening's repast, when the moon (for they had taken thought to appoint the meeting at the time of the full moon) began to show its disc above the dark summits of the distant mountains, while a few stars were seen glimmering in the west. Then the service began. The whole constituted a temple worthy of the grandeur of God. An old man in a dress of the quaintest simplicity ascended a platform, wiped the dust from his spectacles, and, in a voice of suppressed emotion "lined the hymn," of which that vast multitude could recite the words, to be sung with an air in which every voice could join. Every heart capable of feeling thrilled with emotion as that song swelled forth, "Like the sound of many waters, echoing among the hills and mountains." The service proceeded. The hoary-haired orator talked of God, of eternity, of a judgment to come and all that is impressive beyond. He spoke of his experiences and toils, his travels, his persecutions and triumphs, and how many he had seen in hope, in peace and triumph gathered to their fathers. When he spoke of the short space that remained for him, his only regret was that he could no longer proclaim, in the silence of death, the unsearchable riches and mercies of his crucified Redeemer.
No wonder, as the speaker paused to dash the gathering moisture from his own eye, his audience was dissolved in tears, or uttered exclamations of penitence. Many who prided themselves on an estimation of a higher intellect and a nobler insensibility than the crowd caught the infection, and wept, while the others, "who came to mock remained to pray."
In due time a schoolhouse was erected on the banks of the creek a mile away from the house of Albert Stevens. Fernando was sent with the older children. Mrs. Creswell the teacher had no end of trouble with the little fellow, whose ideas of liberty were inconsistent with discipline, and who insisted on reclining on the floor instead of sitting on a bench. He became hungry and despite the fact that his preceptress had forbidden "talking out loud" declared that he wanted something to eat.
"Wait a bit," answered the teacher. "We will have recess by and by."
"Is recess something to eat?" he asked.
This question produced a titter, and the insubordinate youngster was again told he must not talk. After awhile he became accustomed to school and liked it. He grew older and learned his letters. It was a tedious task, the most difficult of which was to distinguish "N" from "U," but he finally mastered them, and his education, he supposed, was complete. After two or three years, he learned to read. His father on one of his journeys to town brought to their forest home some excellent books, with bright, beautiful pictures. He was now nine years old, and could read with some difficulty. One of his books was a story about a man being wrecked on an island, and having saved a black man named Friday from death by savages. Fernando never tired of this wonderful book, and, in his eagerness for the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, learned to read well without knowing it.
From reading one book, he came to read others, and lofty, ambitious thoughts took possession of his soul. His mind, uncontaminated or dwarfed by the sins of civilization, early began to reach out for high and noble ideas.
His father had been a captain in the continental army, and had travelled all over the Atlantic States during the war for independence. He told his children many stories of those dark days and sought early to instil in their young minds a love for their country, urging them ever to sustain its honor and its flag.
Fernando Stevens, even early in childhood, became a patriot. He could be nothing more nor less than a patriot and lover of freedom with such training, and growing up in such an atmosphere. With the bitter wrongs of George III. rankling in his heart, he came to despise all forms of monarchy, and to hate "redcoats." The cruelties of Cornwallis, Tarleton, Rawdon, Tryon and Butler were still in the minds of the people, and the boy, as he gazed on his father's sword hanging on the cabin wall, often declared he would some day take it and avenge the wrongs done in years gone by.
Years passed on, and Fernando, in his quiet home in the West, grew to be a strong, healthy lad, with a constantly expanding mind.
It was early on the morning of June 13, 1796, just twenty years after the Declaration of Independence, that Captain Felix Lane, of the good ship Ocean Star, was on his voyage from Rio to Baltimore with a cargo of coffee. The morning was specially bright, and the captain, as brave a man as ever paced a quarter deck, was in the best of spirits, for he expected soon to be home. He had no wife and children to greet him on his return, for Lane was a bachelor. He had served on board a privateer during the War of the Revolution and had done as much damage as any man on salt water to English merchantmen. Like most brave men, Captain Lane had a generous soul, a kind heart, and there was not a man aboard his vessel who would not have died for him. He preserved perfect discipline and respect through love rather than fear, for he was never known to be harsh with any of his crew.
No one knew why the captain had never married. His first mate, who had sailed under him four years, had never dared broach him on the subject of matrimony. There was a story—a mere rumor—perhaps without the slightest foundation, of Felix Lane, when a poor sailor boy, loving the daughter of an English merchant at Portsmouth, England. The mate got the story from a gossipy old English sailor, who claimed to know all about it, but whose fondness for spinning yarns brought discredit on his veracity. According to the old sailor's account, the fair English maid's name was Mary. Her father was one of the wealthiest merchants in the city; and one day when Lane was only nineteen he met Mary. Her beauty captivated him and inspired him to a nobler life. Mary loved the young sailor; but it was the old story of the penniless lover and cruel parent. The sailor was forcibly expelled from the house and sailed to America, with a heart full of revenge and ambition.
He arrived just after the battle of Lexington, and soon shipped aboard a privateer. Again it was the old story of a rash lover laughing at death, seeking the grim monster who seemed to avoid him. His ship was so successful, that in a short time each of the crew was rich from prize money. Four years and a half of war found Felix Lane commander of the most daring privateer on the ocean. He was already wealthy and continued by fresh prizes to add to his immense fortune. The merchant marine of Great Britain dreaded his ship, the Sea Rover, more than the whole American navy. Lane was one of the most expert seamen on the ocean, and might have had a high office in the regular navy, had he not found this semi-piratical business more lucrative.
One day his vessel sighted a large merchantman, off the coast of Spain, and engaged it in a terrible conflict. The merchantman carried twice as many people and heavier guns than the Sea Rover; but by the skilful management of his ship Captain Lane continued to rake her fore and aft until she was forced to strike her colors. When the conqueror went aboard, he found the splintered deck a scene of horror. Cordage, shrouds, broken spars and dead and dying men strewed the deck. Near the gangway was a middle-aged man holding in his arms a girl mortally wounded in the conflict. He recognized her in a moment, and the scene which followed tried all the powers of the old yarn-spinner's descriptive faculties. He held her in his arms and wept and prayed until her life was extinct. It was said that she recognized him and that she died with a sweet smile on her face, pointing upward to a place of reunion. The father, who had survived the conflict, was released, and Captain Felix continued his career a sadder and better man.
Whether this story was true or not, no one can at this day tell, for Jack tars are proverbial yarn-spinners, and seek more after romance than truth. One thing is quite certain, though, Captain Lane was still a bachelor, and had resisted all the advances of beautiful women, until no one doubted that he would end his days a bachelor.
On this bright June morning a sail was descried S.S.E., and there immediately sprang up a little conversation between master and mate as to the probable character of the ship.
"Perchance, captain, it's a British cruiser," suggested the mate.
"If it should be, we have no fears."
"No, for the Ocean Star can show a pair of clean heels to anything afloat. These British have a habit of searching all vessels they can capture and impressing seamen."
"It's ugly business."
"It will breed another storm."
"I don't think America will long submit."
At this, the mate, whose temper was as fiery as his red hair, vowed:
"If they should board a ship of mine, I would give 'em lead and steel, until they would not care to search or impress any one."
"They have no such right," the captain answered, and his face grew very stern.
The vessel, whatever she was, did not cross their path, however, and in a few hours disappeared around some jutting headlands.
They had only left Rio the day before, and had very light winds. The land breeze lasted long enough to bring them by Santa Cruz, and their ship drifted along all day between Raza and the main. Toward night the sea-breeze came in fresh from the eastward, and they made four-hour tacks, intending to keep the northern shore quite close aboard, and to take their departure from Cape Frio. The night was very clear, and at eight bells they tacked ship to the northward, heading about N.N.E.; Raza lights could just be discerned, bearing about West. Captain Lane had come on deck, as was his custom, to "stay" the brig, and, finding everything looking right, was about to go below, when the man on the lookout cried:
"Where away?" demanded the Captain.
"Two points off the lee bow."
The captain walked forward to the forecastle, from where he descried what appeared to be a large square-rigged vessel standing directly for them, with her port-tacks aboard. This seemed strange to the captain, as he knew of no vessel which had left Rio, except one several days previous, and she should have been far on her voyage by this time.
The stranger approached very rapidly, carrying a press of canvas, and "lying over" to it in fine style. In a short time the stranger was almost within speaking distance, and Captain Lane made her out to be a large heavily-sparred clipper brig. A collision seemed inevitable, if she held her course. The Ocean Star was a little to windward of the stranger with the starboard tacks aboard, and Captain Lane knew it was the stranger's duty to "bear up" and keep away. He jumped for his speaking trumpet and hailed:
No answer; and the mysterious vessel came booming right on for them with fearful speed.
"Brig ahoy!" shouted the captain again. "Hard up your helm, or you will be into me!"
Still no answer; and, jumping to the wheel, the captain jammed it down, and they came up flying into the wind. Leaving the wheel to the frightened seaman, he sprang into the port rail, to see where the stranger would strike them. As he did so, that mysterious craft flew by, and the whole sea seemed lighted up by a strange illumination. It was like a terrible dream—so wild, so supernatural and unearthly. As Captain Lane stood by the port rail, he saw right under his quarter, a large, low, black brig, with her decks crowded with men, and guns protruding from her ports; while on the weather rail, clinging with one hand to the shrouds, stood a strange, demoniacal-looking figure, holding in his outstretched hand, above the water, a burning blue light. On the quarter-deck a little knot of men seemed standing, a short distance apart from them was a strikingly handsome man, who, from his air of superiority, Lane at once knew to be the commander. His perfectly poised and graceful attitude, and thorough composure, as he removed a cigar from his mouth and motioned an order to the helmsman, struck the beholder as wonderful.
In an instant the whole thing flashed upon the captain—he was a pirate! He had run under the stern of the brig and burned a blue light to read the name of the vessel, and see if the bird was worth plucking.
Captain Lane's decision was instantaneous. He knew that the white feather never helped one out with such fellows. It was all the work of an instant. The stranger ran a couple of lengths astern the Ocean Star, swung his main-yard aback and hailed; but while the bold buccaneer was doing this, Captain Lane had performed an equally sea-manlike manoeuvre. He caught his sails aback, and his vessel having stern way, he shifted his helm, backed her round, and, filling away on the other tack, stood directly for the pirate.
It was the stranger's time to hail now. The Ocean Star was a sharp, strong, fast-sailing vessel, and was under good headway and perfect control. Captain Lane then acted hurriedly, but with precision, giving his orders to his mate and helmsman, and, seizing the cabin lantern and his speaking trumpet, he jumped upon the topgallant forecastle, and, holding up his lamp, made the master mason's "hailing sign of distress." He then hailed through his trumpet, in quick, determined syllables:
"Brig ahoy! Unless you swear as a man or as a Mason that you will not molest me, as true as there is a God, we will sink together!"
Quick as thought, the answer came back through the trumpet, clear and distinct:
"I swear as a Mason! Hard up your helm!"
"Hard up your helm!" the captain shouted aft, and, paying off like a bird, the Ocean Star swept by the stranger's stern near enough to almost touch her. As they went sailing past her, it became Captain Lane's turn to bend forward with a lantern, and ascertain who his new acquaintance was. There, painted in blood-red letters on the black stern, was the name
He had scarce read it, when the same clear tones, more subdued, hailed him, as he thought, with somewhat of kindness:
"Captain, do me the favor to back your main-yard; I will come aboard of you—alone!"
The captain gave the necessary orders, and "hove to" within three or four cables' length of the stranger; and in a very few minutes a four-oared boat, containing but a single figure besides the crew, was seen approaching the Ocean Star.
Captain Lane had a ladder put over the gangway and threw a rope to the boat as it came alongside; and the next moment the stranger sprang upon the deck of the Ocean Star.
With an easy grace he gave to the captain the quick, intelligible sign of the "great brotherhood" and, taking his arm familiarly, walked aft.
Captain Lane called the steward, sent for glasses and wine, and, as soon as they were placed upon the table, closed the cabin door, and found himself alone with his strange visitor.
The captain filled his glass and, sipping it in Spanish fashion, passed the decanter to the stranger. He followed his example, and after the usual interchange of courtesies addressed him:
"Captain, I have a favor to ask of you."
"You are probably not aware of the true motive which induced me to heave you to?"
"I am not."
"It is this: I wish you to take a passenger to the United States—a lady and her child. Now that I have seen you and feel acquainted with you, by our common ties, I feel a confidence in sending them by you, which I should never have felt, perhaps, with another. Will you take them? Any price shall be yours."
"Yes; I will take them."
"Thank you. I have a still further favor to ask. I wish to send to the States a sum of money to be invested in the lady's name, and for her account. Will it be too much to ask you to attend to this? You may charge your own commission."
"I will obey your wishes to the letter," Captain Lane answered.
The stranger grasped his hand across the table and, with some emotion, added:
"If you will do this, and will place the lady and child where they may find a home, with the surroundings of Christian society, you will confer a favor upon me which money can never repay."
Captain Lane looked at the man with astonishment, and for the first time gave him a glance that was thoroughly searching and critical.
He was apparently of about thirty-five years of age, a little above the medium height, with a broad forehead, over which fine, brown hair clustered in careless folds. He wore his beard and mustache long, the former extending to a point a few inches below the throat. His eyes were brown, large and full of expression, while in conversation, and a mild and melancholy smile occasionally stole over his features.
His manners and conversation betokened refinement; and, take him all in all, he was the last man one would have ever taken for a smuggler or a pirate.
Captain Lane became very much interested in him, and gradually their conversation took a wider range. In the midst of it and before they had fully completed their business arrangements in relation to the passengers, whom Captain Lane had engaged to convey to the United States, the mate knocked at the cabin door, and informed them that a heavy squall was rising to westward.
They hurried on deck, which no sooner had they reached, than the stranger, looking hastily in the quarter indicated, shook Captain Lane warmly by the hand saying:
"I must go aboard, captain; that will be a heavy squall. Keep me in sight if you can; but, if we part company, meet me off Cape Frio—this side of it—to-morrow; wait for me till night, if you do not see me before. Good-by!" and springing into his boat, he pulled away for his vessel.
Captain Lane never saw him again alive.
No sooner was he over the side, than the captain gave orders to shorten sail. He took in royals and topgallant sails, furled the courses, trysail and jib, and double-reefed the topsails. They braced the yards a little to starboard, hauled the foretopmast staysail sheet well aft, and the captain, thinking he had everything snug, stood looking over the weather rails, watching the approaching squall. The wind had almost died away, and the atmosphere seemed strangely oppressive. Captain Lane was an old sea-dog and had witnessed many strange phenomena on the ocean; but never had he seen a squall approach so singularly. It seemed to move very slowly—a great black cloud, which looked intensely luminous withal, and yet so dense and heavy, that an ordinary observer might have mistaken it for one of the ordinary rain squalls encountered in the tropics. Captain Lane consulted his barometer, and found it falling rapidly.
"Clew the topsails up!" shouted the captain to the mate. "All hands lay aloft and furl them!"
The order was quickly obeyed; and just as the sailors reached the deck, the squall struck them. It did not come as it was expected; it had worked up from the westward, but struck the Ocean Star dead from the South. In an instant they were over, nearly on their beam ends, and a heavy sea rushed over the lee-rail, filling the deck.
"Hard up your helm!" shouted the captain, and, springing aft, he found the helmsman jammed under the tiller, and the second mate vainly endeavoring to heave it up. Taking hold with him, by their united efforts they at last succeeded; and, after a moment's suspense, the Ocean Star slowly wore off before the wind and, rising out of the water, shook herself like an affrighted spaniel and darted off with fearful speed before the hurricane.
Leaving orders to keep her "steady before it" the captain went forward to ascertain the extent of the damage they had sustained. It was now intensely dark, the rain falling in torrents, and lightning bolts striking the water all around them, accompanied by fearful and incessant peals of thunder. A human voice could not have been heard five paces away. The wind, which fairly roared through the shrouds, and the deluge of water upon the deck, were enough of themselves to drown any voice. By flashes of lightning, the captain soon ascertained that they were comparatively unharmed, and their spars were safe. Gathering his frightened crew and officers about him, he succeeded at length in freeing the decks of water by knocking out the ports on either side. They next sounded the pumps, and found three feet of water in the well. Immediately double pumps were rigged, and the steady clinking of brakes added to the noises and terror of the scene.
It was a fearful night, and Captain Lane prayed Heaven that he might never see such another.
About half an hour after the squall first struck them—the captain of the Ocean Star was standing with his two officers on the quarter-deck, "conning the vessel by the feel of the wind and rain," keeping her dead before the gale—when there came a flash and a peal which made them cower almost to the decks.
"My God!" was the simultaneous exclamation of all. A long chain of lightning and a heavy ball of fire seemed to shoot from the sky, lighting up the whole sea, revealing, and at the same time striking, in its descent, a full-rigged brig, which, like themselves, was scudding before the gale under bare poles, a few cables' length off their port beam. The next instant, a fearful explosion, heard loud above the roaring storm, shook the sea, a volume of flame and fire shot up in the air, and when they looked again for the vessel, in the flashes of lightning, it was nowhere to be seen.
As the morning broke, the gale abated, and settled into a light breeze from the eastward. They made all sail, and stood to the southward with the wind abeam, hoping to fall in with some survivors of the wreck.
Captain Lane changed his wet garments for something more comfortable, refreshed himself with a strong cup of coffee, and, taking his glass, sought the foretopsail yard. About seven bells, he thought he discovered some object in the water three or four points off the lee bow. Hailing the deck to keep off for it, he very soon made out fragments of a vessel—spars, water casks, pieces of deck and, as they came still nearer, a boat; but the captain, even from his lofty perch, could see no sign of any one in it.
Descending to the deck, he ordered a boat to be cleared away, and, running as near as he dared to the wreck, he backed his maintopsail and took a long and earnest survey with his glass.
All hands were watching with anxious eyes the expression on the captain's face. He handed his glass to the mate, who carefully examined every fragment which appeared above water. The captain looked at the mate inquiringly; but neither said a word. The mate handed back the glass and shook his head sorrowfully.
Again the captain looked long and earnestly; the mate looked again, and again returned the glass:
"Poor fellows—we may as well fill away, sir!" he said sadly.
There was still considerable sea on, and the mere launching of a boat was attended with more than ordinary danger, added to which was that to be encountered from the broken spars and fragments of wreck drifting about. Captain Lane thought of all these dangers, and was about to give the order to "fill away the main-yard," when something seemed to say to him:
"There is some one in that boat!"
This impression was so strong that he felt as if it would be murder to leave the spot without making a more minute search, and he ordered the boat to be lowered at once. Jumping into the stern sheets, four good oars well manned soon brought him within the little field of fragments, in the centre of which the boat was floating. No wonder none of the crew was left,—the water literally swarmed with sharks.
Standing in the bow with a boat hook, the captain warded off pieces of wreck and gradually made his way to the strange boat.
The sight there which met his eyes Captain Lane never forgot to his dying day. When bowed down with old age, and his feeble steps were tottering on the verge of the grave, that scene came to him as vividly as on that terrible day. Lying in the bottom of the boat was the burnt, blackened and bruised form of a man, which, with some difficulty, the captain recognized as the handsome stranger who had visited him on the previous evening. Clinging to him, with her arms clasped tightly around his mutilated form, a clasp which even death could not break, her fair face pressed close to his blackened features, was the lifeless body of the most beautiful woman Captain Lane had ever seen. The look of agony, of commiseration, of tenderness, of pity, of horror and despair, which was sealed upon, those lifeless features was beyond the powers of description; but the saddest spectacle of all was a child, a little girl about one year old, clinging frantically to the breast of her dead mother, and gazing silently at them in frightened wonder.
For years, Captain Lane's eyes had not been dimmed with tears, but now the fountains of grief were opened up, and his cheeks were wet. He carefully entered the boat, felt of each cold body, laid his hand upon each silent heart, and waited in vain for an answering signal to his touch upon the pulse.
"It is all over," he said, and sitting down in the stern sheets of the boat, he took the child in his arms and sent his men back for sheets and shot and palm and needle and prayer-book. "They shall have Christian burial," declared the kind-hearted captain.
They went away and left him alone with the dead and the baby. The infant seemed to cling to him from that moment, and the Great Father above alone knows how strangely and rapidly those cords of love were cemented between the bluff, old bachelor sea-captain and the infant. That heart, which he had thought dead to all love since the awful day on board the English merchantman, when he saw the only being he ever loved dying, was suddenly thrilled by the tenderest emotions. Those sweet blue eyes were upturned to his face with a glance of imploring trust, and the captain cried:
"Yes, blow my eyes, if I don't stand by you, little one, as long as there is a stitch of canvas left!"
The time was very short until his men returned. Wrapping the dead in one shroud and winding sheet, with heavy shot well secured at their feet, the captain put the little child's lips to its mother's, giving her an unconscious kiss, which caused the men to brush their rough sleeves across their weather-beaten eyes. Then, reading with a broken voice, the last service for the dead, the shroud was closed, and the opening waters received them and bore them away to their last resting place.
Jumping into his boat, with the little stranger nestling in his arms, Captain Lane was soon aboard the Ocean Star, and with a fair wind and sunny skies was once more homeward bound. The captain seemed loath to relinquish his little charge. There was a goat on the vessel which furnished milk, and the cook prepared some dainty food for the little stranger.
"What is her name, captain?" he asked, while feeding the hungry child. She was not old enough to know her name, and there was not found about her clothes or in the boat anything whatever by which her name could possibly be known, so she had to be rechristened. What name should he give her? He reflected a moment and then, remembering the name on the stern of that black, mysterious vessel, answered:
"Morgianna?" said the cook.
"Yes, Morgianna Lane! she is my adopted daughter."
The cook smiled at the thought of bluff old Captain Lane the bachelor having an adopted daughter.
After the perils and excitements of such a night, it was not strange that Captain Lane slept long and soundly. He had good officers, and when he retired he gave them orders not to disturb him, unless absolutely necessary, until he should awake.
They obeyed the injunction to the letter, and on the following morning he was awakened by hearing one of the crew ask in an undertone of the steward.
"How is little Morgianna this morning?"
"Little Morgianna," he said to himself; and then it all came back, and with it a strangely tender dream which had all night long haunted his slumbers. The captain rose hurriedly, dressed himself and inquired for the child, who had been resigned to the care of the cook. She was brought to him, a bright, cheerful little thing, just beginning to lisp unintelligible words. For a few days she missed her mother and wore a look of expectation on her infantile face, occasionally crying out; but anon this passed away, and she became cheerful and happy. The captain spent as much of his time with her as he could spare from his duties, and as he held the little creature on his knee, heard her gentle voice in baby accents, and felt her warm baby fingers on his cheek, a new emotion took possession of his heart. He loved little Morgianna dearly as a father might.
Before that voyage was over, Captain Lane resolved to abandon the sea and retire to his fine estate at Mariana, a village on the seashore not a score of miles from Baltimore. He kept his intentions a secret until the vessel was in port; then the merchants with whom he had been engaged in business for years, were astounded to learn that Captain Lane had made his last voyage. A nurse was engaged for little Morgianna and the great mansion house on the hill within a fourth of a mile of Mariana was fitted up for habitation. Servants were sent to the place, and the villagers were lost in wonder.
The gossips had food for conjecture for weeks, and many were the strange stories afloat. Some of the old dames thought the captain was going to be married after all. Then the young widows and ancient maidens who had heard much about Captain Lane, sighed and looked disconsolate. Every kind of a story but the truth was afloat.
When on one bright autumnal day, a carriage from Baltimore was seen to dash into the village and roll up the great drive, between the rows of poplars, it was whispered he had come. One who watched averred that only the captain and a child not over a year and a half old alighted from the coach. (The nurse came in another vehicle.) The child started another rumor. She was a mysterious, unknown factor, and the gossips bandied the captain's name about in a reckless manner. Good old dames shook their heads knowingly and declared they had suspected the captain had a wife all the time in some far-off city.
"You kin never depend on these sea-captains!" Mrs. Hammond declared.
But despite all their conjectures, the captain lived in the old stone mansion house with his servants and Morgianna. A few weeks after his arrival, she was christened at the village church as Morgianna Lane, her parents not known.
Would wonders never cease? Bit by bit, the sensational story of Morgianna got out into the village, and she became the object of the greatest interest. Captain Lane adopted her, and when she became old enough to accompany him, he seldom went away without her. Morgianna loved the good old man, who, with all his rough seaman-like ways, was father and mother both to her.
Never had daughter a kinder or more indulgent father.
As years went on, Morgianna grew in beauty, intelligence, grace and goodness. Captain Lane was proud of her, and she was never so happy as when sitting on his knee listening to his yarns of the sea. Her own sad, dark story had never been told to her,—that was left for the future.
There is not a man of intelligence in America or Europe, who has not heard of the Democratic party in America, that great political organization which has been in existence almost, if not quite, one hundred years. Many who claim allegiance to this great party know little of its tenets, and still fewer know its history. There are orators on the stump, in the halls of Congress, writers for the press, all advocating "the glorious principles of Democracy," who have never thoroughly acquainted themselves with its history. The Democratic party of to-day was originally known as the Republican party. The warm discussions on the national constitution engendered party spirit in the new republic, which speedily assumed definite forms and titles, first as Federalist and anti-Federalist, which names were changed to Federalist and Republican, or Democrat.
The Federalist party, headed by Alexander Hamilton, favored much concentration of power in a national government, but perhaps not more than we have to-day, and, in fact, not more than is really essential to the upbuilding of a stable republic like ours. There can be no question but that Washington held to the same views; but Washington was the only great man America ever produced who rose so far above political parties as to absorb them all. He has never been classed as belonging to either party. The Republican or Democratic party favored State sovereignty and the diffusion of power among the people.
The American people had had such bitter experiences with monarchs that they dreaded anything which savored of monarchy, and it was argued that a centralized government was but a step in that direction. On the other hand, Federalists pointed out the danger of State sovereignty, which would surely in the end disrupt the general government. Subsequent history has proven that the Federalists were right. We have said that Washington was a Federalist at heart. His enemies, meanly jealous of his popularity, often declared that he was a monarchist.
Meanwhile, a revolution, violent in its nature and far-reaching in its consequences, had broken out in France.
It was the immediate consequences of the teachings of the American revolution. The people of France had long endured almost irresponsible despotism, and were yearning for freedom when the French officers and soldiers, who had served in America during the latter years of our struggles for independence, returned to their country full of republican ideas and aspirations. They questioned the right of the few to oppress the many, and the public heart was soon stirred by new ideas, and in a movement that followed, Lafayette was conspicuous for a while. The king, like many tyrants, was weak and vacillating, and soon a body called the states-general assumed the reins of government, while the king was in fact a prisoner. The terrible Bastile, whose history represented royal despotism, was assailed by the citizens of Paris and pulled down. The privileges of the nobility and clergy were abolished, and the church property was seized. The king's brothers and many of the nobles fled in affright across the frontier, and tried to induce other sovereigns to take up the cause of royalty in France and restore the former order of things. The emperor of Austria (brother of the French queen) and the king of Prussia entered into a treaty to that effect, at Pilnitz, in 1791.
When this treaty became known, war at once followed. Robespierre and other self-constituted leaders in Paris held sway for a while, and the most frightful massacres of nobles and priests ensued. The weak and unfortunate king, who had accepted constitution after constitution, was now deposed and a republic was established. Affairs had assumed the nature of anarchy and blood, and Lafayette and other moderate men disappeared from the arena. The king was tried on charge of inviting foreigners to invade France, was found guilty and was beheaded in January, 1793. His queen soon shared a like fate. The English troops sent to Flanders were called to fight the French, for the rulers of France had declared war against Great Britain, Spain and Holland in February.
Thomas Jefferson who entered Washington's cabinet in 1789, had just returned from France, where he had witnessed the uprising of the people against their oppressors. Regarding the movement as kindred to the late uprising of his own countrymen against Great Britain, it enlisted his warmest sympathies, and he expected to find the bosoms of the people of the United States glowing with feelings like his own. He was sadly disappointed. Washington was wisely conservative. His wisdom saw that the cruelty of the anarchists of Paris was not patriotism, but the worst sort of despotism. The society of New York, in which some of the leaven of Toryism yet lingered, chilled Jefferson. He became suspicious of all around him, for he regarded the indifference of the people to the struggles of the French, their old allies, as an evil omen. Though the Tories of New York were cool toward the French republic from far different motives than Washington, yet the same cause was attributed to both.
Jefferson had scarcely taken his seat as Secretary of State in Washington's first cabinet before he declared that some of his colleagues held decidedly monarchical views; and the belief became fixed in his mind that there was a party in the United States continually at work, secretly and sometimes openly, for the overthrow of American republicanism. The idea became a monomania with Jefferson from which he never recovered till his death, more than thirty years afterward. Jefferson soon rallied under his standard a large party of sympathizers with the French revolutionists. Regarding Hamilton as the head and front of the monarchical party, he professed to believe that the financial plans of that statesman were designed to enslave the people, and that the rights and liberties of the States and of individuals were in danger. On the other hand, Hamilton regarded the national constitution as inadequate in strength to perform its required functions and believed its weakness to be its greatest defect. With this idea Jefferson took issue. He charged his political opponents, and especially Hamilton, with corrupt and anti-republican designs, selfish motives and treacherous intentions, and so was inaugurated that system of personal abuse and vituperation, which has ever been a disgrace to the press and political leaders of this country. Bitter partisan quarrels now prevailed, in which Jefferson and Hamilton were the chief actors. The populace was greatly excited. The Republicans who hated the British intensely, called the Federalists the "British party," and the Federalists called their opponents the "French party." The Jeffersonians hailed with joy the news of the death of the French king, and applauded the declaration of war against England and Holland, forgetting the friendship which the latter had shown for Americans during the struggle for independence.
Amid all this uproar which proceeded from his cabinet, only Washington remained calm. No other American at that day nor since could have remained neutral and guided the ship of state through such breakers of discontent. He was the safe middle water between the dangerous reefs of concentration and State sovereignty.
Had not the Federal party been the victim of many unfortunate circumstances, it would certainly in time have become popular in the nation. It was beyond question Washington's party, and, notwithstanding the false charges of monarchism and British sovereignty, it was patriotic. Had it existed forty or fifty years longer, until that incubus which haunted Jefferson's brain had passed away, and the republic become so firmly established that people would no longer fear British dependency, the Federal party would have been a firmly fixed institution. Had Federal ideas been fully inculcated instead of Jeffersonianism and Calhounism, the rebellion of 1861 would not have occurred; but Aaron Burr murdered Hamilton, the friend of Washington, the bright genius of American politics and the hope of the Federal party, and the Federalists were left without any great leader. When the war of 1812 came, the Federalists were so embittered against the Democrats, then in power, that they became lukewarm and threw so many obstacles in the way of the patriots who were making the second fight for freedom, as to almost confirm the suspicion that they were the friends of Great Britain rather than America. This forever blighted the Federal party.
In the year 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States, and the first of Democratic proclivities.
Although the city of Washington, the great American capital, had been laid out on a magnificent scale, in 1791, and George Washington, with masonic ceremonies, laid the corner-stone of the capitol building in 1793, the seat of government was not removed there until the year 1800. The site for the city was a dreary one. At the time when the seat of government was first moved there, only a path, leading through an alder swamp on the line of the present Pennsylvania Avenue, was the way of communication between the president's house and the capitol. For a while, the executive and legislative officers of the government were compelled to suffer many privations. In the fall of 1800, Oliver Wolcott wrote:
"There is one good tavern about forty rods from the capitol, and several houses are built or erecting; but I don't see how the members of congress can possibly secure lodgings, unless they will consent to live like scholars in a college or monks in a monastery, crowded ten or twenty in one house. The only resource for such as wish to live comfortably will be found in Georgetown, three miles distant, over as bad a road in winter as the clay grounds near Hartford.
"... There are, in fact, but few houses in any one place, and most of them are small, miserable huts, which present an awful contrast to the public buildings. The people are poor and, as far as I can judge, live like fishes by eating each other. ... You may look in any direction over an extent of ground nearly as large as the city of New York, without seeing a fence or any object except brick kilns and temporary huts for laborers. ... There is no industry, society or business."
On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated and commenced his first term under favorable auspices. He was then fifty-eight years of age—a tall, bony man, with grizzled sandy hair and rather slovenly dress—a man who practised his Democratic simplicity in all things, and sometimes carried it to extremes. A senator, writing of him in 1802, said:
"The next day after my arrival I visited the president, accompanied by some democratic members. In a few moments after our arrival a tall, high-boned man came into the room. He was dressed, or rather undressed, in an old brown coat, red waistcoat, old corduroy smallclothes, much soiled, woollen hose, and slippers without heels. I thought him a servant, when General Varnum surprised me by announcing it was the president."
In brief, Mr. Jefferson outlined his policy as follows, in a letter to Nathaniel Macon:
"1. Levees are done made away with. 2. The first communication to the next congress will be, like all subsequent ones, by message to which no answer will be expected. 3. The diplomatic establishment in Europe will be reduced to three ministers. 4. The compensation of collectors depends on you (Congress) and not on me. 5. The army is undergoing a chaste reformation. 6. The navy will be reduced to the legal establishment by the last of the month (May, 1801). 7. Agencies in every department will be revised. 8. We shall push you to the uttermost in economizing. 9. A very early recommendation has been given to the postmaster-general to employ no printer, foreigner or Revolutionary Tory in any of his offices."
James Madison was Mr. Jefferson's secretary of state; Henry Dearborn was secretary of war, and Levi Lincoln, attorney-general. Jefferson retained Mr. Adams's secretaries of the treasury and navy, until the following Autumn, when Albert Gallatin, a naturalized foreigner, was appointed to the first named office and Robert Smith to the second. The president early resolved to reward his political friends when he came to "revise" the agencies in every department. Three days after his inauguration, he wrote to Colonel Monroe, "I have firmly refused to follow the counsels of those who have desired the giving of offices to some of the Federalist leaders in order to reconcile. I have given, and will give, only to Republicans, under existing circumstances."
The doctrine, ever since acted upon, that "to the victor belong the spoils," was then practically promulgated from the fountain-head of government patronage; and with a cabinet wholly Democratic, when congress met in December, 1801, and with the minor offices filled with his political friends, Mr. Jefferson began his presidential career of eight years' duration. In his inaugural address he said, "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Federalists—we are all Republicans."
Vigor and enlightened views marked his course, so that even his political enemies were compelled to confess his foresight and sound judgment in regard to the national policy.
The administration of Jefferson was not marked with perfect peace abroad. Napoleon Bonaparte, the outgrowth of the French revolution, had overthrown monarchy in France and conquered almost all Europe. He was not a Washington, however, and the French people were only exchanging one tyrant for another.
The Algerians, those barbarous North African pirates, had been forcing the Americans to pay tribute. Captain Bainbridge, who commanded the frigate George Washington, for refusing to convey an Algerian ambassador to the court of the sultan at Constantinople, was threatened by the haughty governor with imprisonment.
"You pay me tribute, by which you become my slave, and therefore I have a right to order you as I think proper," said the dey.
Bainbridge was forced to obey the orders of the Barbarian.
The Americans resolved to humble the Algerians, and a fleet was sent to Tripoli in 1803. The frigate Philadelphia, while reconnoitering the harbor, struck on a rock and was captured by the Tripolitans, who made her officers prisoners of war and her crew slaves.
Lieutenant Decatur, on February 3, 1804, by a stratagem, got alongside the Philadelphia with seventy-four brave young sailors like himself and carried the ship by the board after a terrible hand-to-hand conflict. The Tripolitans were defeated, and the Philadelphia was burned. The American seamen continued to bombard Tripoli and blockaded their ports, until the terrified Bashaw made a treaty of peace.
While the Americans were winning laurels on the Mediterranean, the infant republic was growing in political and moral strength. During Mr. Jefferson's first term, one State (Ohio) and two Territories (Indiana and Illinois) had been formed out of the great Northwestern Territory. Ohio was organized as an independent territory in the year 1800, and in the fall of 1802, it was admitted into the Union as a State. Long before the Northwestern Territory had been divided into different territories, the present limits of Ohio and Kentucky had already become quite populous. Emigrants like Albert Stevens were pushing out on the frontier and building up a great commonwealth.
About 1802, there was great excitement in the country west of the Alleghany Mountains, in consequence of a violation of the treaty made with Spain in 1795, by the governor of Louisiana in closing the port of New Orleans against American commerce. There was a proposition before congress for taking forcible possession of that region, when it was ascertained that, by a secret treaty, Spain had retroceded Louisiana to France. The United States immediately began negotiations for the purchase of that domain from France. Robert R. Livingston, the American minister at the court of the First Consul, found very little difficulty in making a bargain with Bonaparte, for the latter wanted money and desired to injure England. He sold that magnificent domain, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico northward to the present State of Minnesota, and from the Mississippi westward to the Pacific Ocean, for fifteen million dollars. The bargain was made in the spring of 1803, and in the fall the country, and the new domain, which added nine hundred thousand square miles to our territory, was taken possession of by the United States. When the bargain was closed, Bonaparte said:
"This accession of territory strengthens forever the power of the United States, and I have just given to England a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride."
It was the prevailing opinion in the country, that the Spanish inhabitants, who were forming states in the great valley, would not submit to the rule of American government. Aaron Burr, a wily and unscrupulous politician, who, having murdered the noble Hamilton in a duel, was an outcast from society, began scheming for setting up a separate government in the West. Burr was unscrupulous and dishonest and at the same time shrewd. The full extent of his plans were really never known, and the historian is in doubt whether he intended a severance of the Union, or an invasion of Mexico. Herman Blennerhassett, an excellent Irish gentleman, became his ally and suffered ruin with Burr. Burr was arrested and tried, but was found not guilty. His speech in his own defence was so eloquent, that it is said to have melted his enemies to tears, though all believed him guilty. Burr's life was a wreck after that. His fame was blasted, and he was placed beside Benedict Arnold as a traitor to his country.
With the acquisition of Louisiana, there grew up a powerful opposition to Jefferson in the North and East. The idea was disseminated that the purchase was only a scheme to strengthen the south and the southern democracy. Mr. Jefferson came almost to having a wholesome dose of his doctrine of State sovereignty exemplified. A convention of Federalists was called at Boston, in 1804, in which a proposition of secession was made. Fortunately, however, there was too much patriotism in the body for the proposition to carry, and the government was saved.
The peace of 1783 between the United States and Great Britain had been extorted by the necessities, rather than obtained by the good will of England. Though, by a formal treaty, the United States were declared free and independent, they were still hated in Great Britain as rebellious colonies. That such was the general opinion is manifest from the letters of John Adams, our first minister to the court of St. James, and from other authentic contemporary accounts. Of course there were a few men of sufficiently enlarged and comprehensive minds to forget the past and urge, even in parliament, that the trade of America would be more valuable as an ally than a dependent; but the number of these was small indeed. The common sentiment in England toward the young republic was one of scornful detestation. We were despised as provincials, we were hated as rebels. In the permanency of our institutions there was scarce a believer in all Britain. This was especially the case prior to the adoption of the federal constitution. Both in parliament and out, it was publicly boasted that the Union would soon fall to pieces, and that, finding their inability to govern themselves, the different States would, one by one, supplicate to be received back as colonies. This vain and empty expectation long lingered in the popular mind, and was not wholly eradicated until after the war of 1812.
Consequently the new republic was treated with arrogant contempt. One of the first acts of John Adams, as minister to England, had been to propose placing the navigation and trade between the dominions of Great Britain and the territories of the United States, on a basis of complete reciprocity. By acceding to such a measure England might have gained much and could have lost but little. The proposal was rejected almost with terms of insult, and Mr. Adams was sternly informed that a "no other would be entertained." The consequences were that the free negroes of Jamaica, and others of the poorer inhabitants of the British West India Islands were reduced to starvation by being deprived of their usual supplies from the United States. This unreasonable policy on the part of England naturally exasperated the Americans, and one of the first acts of the federal government in 1789 was to adopt retaliatory measures. A navy law was passed, which has since been the foundation of all our treaties of reciprocity with England. A protective tariff was also adopted as another means of retaliation. In these measures, the United States, being a young nation with unlimited territory, had everything to gain, and England all to lose. Great Britain was first to tire of restrictive measures, and, by a repeal on her part, invited a repeal on ours.
In another way Great Britain exasperated the popular feeling here against her, and even forced the American government, once or twice, to the verge of war. By the treaty of peace, all military posts held by England within the limits of the United States were to be given up. Michilimacinac, Detroit, Oswegotche, Point au Fer and Dutchman's Point were long held in defiance of the compact. These posts became the centre of intrigues among the savages of the Northwest. Arms were here distributed to the Indians, and disturbances on the American frontier were fomented. The war on the Miami, which was brought to a bloody close by Wayne's victory, was, principally, the result of such secret machinations. In short, England regarded the treaty of 1783 as a truce rather than a pacification, and long, held to the hope of being able yet to punish the colonies for their rebellion. In two celebrated letters written by John Adams from Great Britain, he used the following decided language in reference to the secret designs of England:
"If she can bind Holland in her shackles, and France from internal dissensions is unable to interfere, she will make war immediately against us." This was in 1787. Two years before he had expressed, the same ideas. "Their present system, as far as I can penetrate it," he wrote, "is to maintain a determined peace with all Europe, in order that they may war singly against America, if they should think it necessary."
A sentiment of such relentless hostility, which no attempt was made to disguise, but which was arrogantly paraded on every occasion, could not fail to exasperate those feelings of dislike on the part of America, which protracted war had engendered. This mutual hatred between the two nations arose from the enmity of the people rather than of the cabinets, "There is too much reason to believe," wrote our minister, "that if the nation had another hundred million to spend, they would soon force the ministry into another war with us." On the side of the United States, it required all the prudence of Washington, sustained by his hold on the affections of the people, to restrain them from a war with England, after that power had refused to surrender the military posts.
A third element of discord arose when England joined the coalition against France, in 1793. The course which the former had pursued for the preceding ten years, had, as we have seen, tended to alienate the people of America from her and nourish sentiments of hostility in their bosoms. On the other hand, France, with that address for which she is eminent, had labored to heighten the good feelings already existing between herself and the United States. A treaty of alliance and commerce bound the two countries; but the courteous demeanor of France cemented us to her by still stronger ties, those of popular will.
Before the revolution broke out in Paris, the enthusiasm of America toward France could scarce be controlled. There can be no doubt that, if the subsequent excesses had not alarmed all prudent friends of liberty, the people of this country could not have been restrained from engaging in the struggle between France and England; but the reign of terror, backed by the insolence of Citizen Genet the minister of the French republic, and afterward by the exactions of the Directory, checked the headlong enthusiasm that otherwise would have embroiled us in the terrible wars of that period. In his almost more than human wisdom, Washington had selected a course of strict neutrality, from which public enthusiasm, nor fear of loss of public favor could swerve him. His course was wise and proper for the still weak confederacy; and every day was productive of events which showed the wisdom of this decision. Neither Great Britain nor France, however, was gratified by this neutrality. Each nation wished the aid of the Americans, and became arrogant and insulting when they found the resolution of the Americans unbroken. Napoleon, on the part of France, saw the impolicy of such treatment, and when he became first consul, he hastened to abandon it; but England relaxed little or nothing. Circumstances, moreover, made her conduct more irritating than that of France, and hence prolonged and increased the exasperation felt toward her in America.
As a great naval power, the policy of England has been to maintain certain maritime laws, which her jurists claim to be part of the code of nations and enforce in her admiralty courts. One principle of these laws is this, that warlike munitions must become contraband in war; in other words, that a neutral vessel cannot carry such into the enemy's port. Hence, if a vessel, sailing under the flag of the United States, should be captured on the high seas, bound for France, during the prevalence of a war between that power and England, and be found to be laden with ship-timber or other manufactured or unmanufactured articles for warlike purposes, the vessel would, by the law of nations, become a prize to the captors. The right to condemn a ship carrying such contraband goods has always been recognized by civilized nations, and, indeed, it is founded in common justice. England, however, having supreme control at sea, and being tempted by the hope of destroying the sinews of her adversary's strength, resolved to stretch this rule so as to embrace provisions as well as munitions of war. She proceeded gradually to her point. She first issued an order, on the 8th of June, 1793, for capturing and bringing into port "all vessels laden, wholly or in part with corn, flour, or meal, and destined to France, or to other countries, if occupied by the arms of that nation." Such vessels were not condemned, nor their cargoes seized; but the latter were to be purchased on behalf of the English Government; or, if not, then the vessels, on giving due security, were allowed to proceed to any neutral port. Of course the price of provisions in France and in England was materially different, and a lucrative traffic for the United States was, in this way, destroyed. Moreover, this proceeding was a comparative novelty in the law of nations, and, however it might suit the purposes of Great Britain, it was a gross outrage on America. In November of the same year, it was followed by a still more glaring infraction of the rights of neutrals, in an order, condemning to capture and adjudication all vessels laden with the produce of any French colony, or with supplies for such a colony.
The fermentation in consequence of this order rose to such a height in America, that it required all the skill of Washington to avert a war. The president, however, determining to preserve peace if possible, despatched Jay to London as a minister plenipotentiary, by whose frank explanations, redress was in a measure obtained for the past, and a treaty negotiated, not, indeed, adequate to justice, but better than could be obtained again, when it expired in 1806.
The relaxation in the rigor of the order of November, 1793, soon proved to be more nominal than real; and from 1794 until the peace of Amiens in 1802, the commerce of the United States continued to be the prey of British cruisers and privateers. After the renewal of the war, the fury of the belligerents increased, and with it the stringent measures adopted by Napoleon and Great Britain. The French Emperor, boldly avowing his intention to crush England, forbade by a series of decrees, issued from Berlin, Milan and Rambouillet, the importation of her commodities into any part of Europe under his control; and England, equally sweeping in her acts, declared all such ports in a state of blockade, thus rendering any neutral vessel liable to capture, which should attempt to enter them. The legality of a blockade, where there is not a naval power off the coast competent to maintain such blockade, has always been denied by the lesser maritime powers. Its effect, in the present instance, was virtually to exclude the United States from foreign commerce. In these extreme measures, Napoleon and England were equally censured; but the policy of the latter affected the Americans far more than the former. The exasperation against Great Britain became extreme and pervaded the whole community; that against France was slighter and confined to the more intelligent. Napoleon was first to begin these outrages on the rights of neutrals; but his injustice was practically felt only on land; while England was first to introduce the paper blockade, a measure ruinous to American merchants. This was finally done on May 16, 1806, when Great Britain announced a "blockade of the coast rivers and ports, from the river Elbe to the port of Brest inclusive." On the 21st of November, of the same year, Napoleon in retaliation, issued a decree from Berlin, placing the British Islands in a state of blockade. This decree was followed by a still more stringent order in council on the part of England.
It now became necessary for the United States either to engage in a war, or to withdraw her commerce from the ocean. The popular voice demanded the former course. Though France was, in the abstract, as unjust as England, her oppressive measures did not affect American commerce, and hence the indignation of the people was directed chiefly against Great Britain; but with the president it was different. Though his sympathies were with. France, his judgment was against her as well as England. In his maturer wisdom, he could now appreciate the great good sense of Washington's neutrality. Besides, the grand old man Thomas Jefferson was determined to preserve peace, for it was his favorite maxim that "the best war is more fatal than the worst peace." A further reason led him to refuse the alternative of war. He was not without hope that one or both of the belligerents would return to reason and repeal the obnoxious acts, if the conduct of the United States, instead of being aggressive, should be patient. Actuated by these views, the president recommended to congress the passage of an embargo act. An embargo law was enacted in December, 1807. By it all American vessels abroad were called home, and those in the United States were prohibited from leaving port. In consequence of this measure, the commerce of the country was annihilated in an hour; and harbors, once flourishing and prosperous, soon became only resorts for rotting ships. There can be no question now that the embargo was a serious blunder. It crippled the American resources for the war that ensued; made the eastern States hostile to Jefferson's, as well as his successor's administration, and tended to foster in the minds of the populace at large, an idea that we shrank from a contest with Great Britain in consequence of inherent weakness.
There was a fourth and last cause of exasperation, against England, which assisted more than all the rest to produce the war of 1812. This was the British claim to the right of impressment. In the terrible struggles in which England found herself engaged with France, her maritime force was her chief dependence, and accordingly she increased the number of her ships unprecedentedly; but it soon became difficult to man all these vessels. The thriving commerce pursued by the United States, as early as 1793, drew large numbers of English seamen into our mercantile marine service, where they obtained better wages than on board English vessels. By the fiction of her law, a man born an English subject can never throw off this allegiance. Great Britain determined to seize her seamen wherever found and force them, to serve her flag. In consequence, her cruisers stopped every American vessel they met and searched the crew in order to reclaim the English, Scotch or Irish on board. Frequently it happened that persons born in America were taken as British subjects; for, where the boarding officer was judge and jury of a man's nationality, there was little chance of justice, especially if the seaman was a promising one, or the officer's ship was short-handed. In nine months, during parts of the years 1796 and 1797, the American minister at the court of London had made application for the discharge of two hundred and seventy-one native born Americans, proved to have been thus impressed. These outrages against personal independence were regarded among the great masses of Americans with the utmost indignation. Such injuries exasperated every soul not made sordid by selfish desire for gain. That an innocent man, peaceably pursuing an honorable vocation, should be forcibly carried on board a British man-of-war, and there be compelled to remain, shut out from all hope of ever seeing his family, seemed, to the robust sense of justice in the popular breast, little better than Algerian bondage. The rage of the people was increased by tales of horror and aggression that occasionally reached their ears from these prison ships. Stories were told of impressed Americans escaping the ships, who, on being recaptured, were whipped until they died. In one instance, a sailor, goaded to madness, seized the captain and, springing overboard, drowned himself and his tormentor.
Every attempt to arrange this difficulty with England had signally failed. The United States offered that all American seamen should be registered and provided with a certificate of citizenship; that the number of crews should be limited by the tonnage of the ship, and if this number was exceeded, British subjects enlisted should be liable to impressment; that deserters should be given up, and that a prohibition should be issued by each party against clandestinely secreting and carrying off the seamen of the other. In 1800 and again in 1806, it was attempted to form treaties in reference to this subject; but the pertinacity with which England adhered to her claim frustrated every effort at reconciliation. In 1803, the difficulty had nearly been adjusted by a convention, Great Britain agreeing to abandon her claim to impressment on the high seas, if allowed to retain it on the narrow seas, or those immediately surrounding her island; but this being rejected as inadmissible by the United States, all subsequent efforts at an arrangement proved unsuccessful. The impressment of seamen continued and was the source of daily increasing abuse. Not only Americans, but Danes, Swedes, Germans, Russians, Frenchmen, Spaniards and Portuguese were seized and forcibly carried off by British men-of-war. There are even well attested instances of Asiatics and Africans being thus impressed. In short, as the war in Europe approached its climax, seamen became more scarce in the British Navy, and, all decency being thrown aside, crews were filled up under color of this claim, regardless even of the show of justice. In 1811, it was computed that the number of men impressed from the American marine service amounted to not less than six thousand.