A Wonderful Providence...

From the files of Stephen M. Lawson



The 1853 Eighth Edition of A Wonderful Providence..., by Eliah Holcomb, was added in September 2007 to Google Books in PDF format. Presented here is the title page (linked to a larger image) and a transcription of the full text by the author's 4-great nephew.



MUTINY AT SEA.

A Narrative of some of the most striking events of a Seafaring Life, written by Capt. ELIAH HOLCOMB, from recollection. Not having the ship's log-book or any private journals to refer to, I shall omit giving dates.

The wonderful providence of God is observable in every transaction. The primary object of my undertaking this labor of love is to ameliorate the distresses of a class of our citizens that has been neglected, and as it were trodden under foot, because they were sailors. What love and respect are due them in the darkest days of our history, the landing of our forefathers at Plymouth; navigating an unknown shore at the risk of their lives! What deprivations -- what valor displayed with a few small crafts defending our sea board, -- what undaunted heroism since, when not only our flag was ridiculed and scoffed at, but our citizens pressed aboard of men-of-war of another nation, to fight their battles even against their own connections! In the last war with England, how fearlessly they contended for the respect of the American flag, which now floats on every sea, and came off victorious, though contending with the most powerful nation in the world. Are such bold, fearless, enterprising men not to be esteemed and loved by their countrymen, whose property and persons they are protecting through much tribulation and suffering? This happy country, through their instrumentality, has become respected by the nations of the earth, as well as made rich; and we have so little esteem and regard for them, when we meet them in the street, almost naked and penniless, in want of a home and a friend, as to pass by on the other side, indifferent to their necessities? Policy would or should stimulate us to take thought of them, because of their influence, and sympathy would lead us to remember them because of their destitution. With so much ardor and energy, they invite our attention as most useful allies. With so many ties of natural kindred as they have to us, the claims of blood would forbid in their being neglected by their own countrymen. Commerce owes them a share of her treasures in acknowledgment of the valor they have displayed in her service, in the darkest days of her history. For them the Bible has promises, not yet accomplished. By every consideration of patriotism and gratitude, by every argument that can plead to interest our benevolence, the love of our native country, or of our common kindred, we are bound to lend a helping hand to raise them up, that they may enjoy the comforts of freedom's soil, and a Christian's hope of a blessed hereafter. Then our merchant vessels can sail the ocean without demons to man them; the lives of the officers will be sage from a mutinous crew; drunkenness, which is generally the cause of mutinies at sea, as it makes men brutes, forgetful of consequences, will be reformed. The youth on our canals and lakes seem to be trained in that school of wretchedness, in the lowest possible society, where every temptation is before them to demoralize and fit them for any desperate deed. This can be in a degree remedied by providing a proper place for them to spend their winter months, where they can improve their minds and be obtaining an education, -- rather than spending their time in whiskey shops, where every species of vice is tolerated and encouraged.

I shall now take occasion to mention a few occurrences which frequently happen at sea, (you will notice the wonderful providence of God, and his watchful care of those who go down to the great sea and do business in the mighty deep,) as they transpired before the awful mutiny which I am about to give you a full account of, that you, reader, may be enabled to follow me through the tragedy with an eye single to the goodness of Him that willeth not the death of him that dieth, but that he should turn and live. I do it to prove, in the instance of the conspiracy, how applicable is the sentence "God maketh the wrath of man to praise him." They meant it for evil, but I am persuaded God meant it for good, inasmuch as it may be the means of saving many a famishing soul, starving for want of spiritual food. I shall now return to the facts hinted at, the first when I was sailor before the mast, (so called.)

A man engaged at the end of the gib-boom, bearing his weight on the gib-stay instead of the foot-roop, the tackle-fall gave way and he went overboard. The vessel was immediately hove to, pitching heavily. He endeavored to get up the boom by means of the stay, working up hand over hand. Another sailor and myself went to the end of the gib-boom to lead the stay in, that being the only way to save him. When on the end of the boom, the vessel gave a heavy pitch and carried away the gib-boom. Three of us then being overboard, the attention of those on board was turned to the one who had been longest in the water and was almost sinking, whom, with the other, they got on board -- myself yet struggling to keep above water, being but a poor swimmer. Being under the bow of the vessel, as she pitched heavy I caught hold of the bob-stay, though it took me down, yet when she rose out it brought my up, by which means I was saved. This you may say was chance. I believe that He whose footsteps are on the deep, had something designed for me to do.

Another, after I had command of the ship Ann, of Boston, belonging to David Hinckley, a worthy, enterprising merchant of that city, on my passage from Boston to Liverpool, England, in the autumn. After receiving a pilot on board off the Skeries for Liverpool, a sudden gale came on at about 11 o'clock at night. The tide not answering to go in before the next morning, the pilot hove to. The next day the gale continued blowing furiously, and it was so foggy that no land was to be seen; therefore the pilot dare not run. The next night the weather was the same, carrying away our main-yard when lying to under a close-reefed topsail, so that in case of wanting that sail as a last resource, it was utterly useless. By the most minute drift I found we were near the banks, and drifting towards them so fast that we could not keep off till morning. I showed the pilot where I judged the ship to be, and requested him to run for the light-house, as the only chance of saving the lives of the ship's company and passengers, as well as the property, which he declined doing, as he had not seen any land since he came on board, and knew not where we were, -- it being difficult for the best navigator to determine the situation exactly, when lying to in a gale, with the tide running one way and the other from seven to nine knots (or miles) an hour; yet, difficult as it was, it was the only thing we could do as we were situated. To trust to our judgment to lay to, we should certainly be lost before morning, and if we run we could no more than be lost; though by laying to, we might live some two or three hours longer. Another consideration was, it was now high tide, and if we hit the channel we could run in. Near morning it would be low tide, and though drifting right in the channel we should be lost. I pointed out these things to the pilot, yet he refused to run. Had there been any appearance of the gale's abating I might not have been so decided, but as there was no appearance of any change for the better, I said to the pilot, "If you will not run, I will. If I go on shore, I will run on shore. I will not lay to and drift on shore. It is only determining our fates a little sooner. By running, there is a small chance; by laying to, there is none." I gave orders to the mate to have the foretop-sail close reefed as it was got on the vessel; the foretop-mast stay-sail set, to pay the vessel off before the wind. Theodore Wright and lady, with my wife were the only passengers on board. After getting the vessel before the wind, I put a good man at the wheel, and the pilot and first mate to stand by him; gave him the course as I judged the light to bear, myself; the second mate and some of the sailors going aloft to look out for the light. I told the second mate where I thought it to be, and if he discovered it to run down and let me know. I then went below and pricked off the course and distance we run, and then went aloft again, where I soon discovered the light, and that if the ship was in the due course I gave them, she was then in the channel between the banks. I ran down and looked at the compass and found that she had been due her course when aloft. I said to the pilot "We are in the channel, I saw the light bearing thus and so." Though he had been a branch pilot many years, he was so alarmed that he knew nothing about any course. He wanted to see the two lights. We soon discovered the one light from the deck, but he was still in the dark. In a few minutes we discovered the two, at which he exclaimed "Oh, my God, we are safe! Now I can take your vessel in as well as though it was daylight." "Well," said I, "take her." That night, at 12 o'clock, we were safe at anchor in the river Mersey. That night fourteen vessels that had pilots on board were lost with all on board, with the exception of one man. Was not this a providence? I believe I was actuated by that allwise Being who heareth prayer and answereth our petitions in due time. To God be all the praise. I would here remark that my taking the ship from the pilot would affect the insurance. The risk would fall on the ship, but lives were preferred to property, and in case the ship was lost there would be no one to tell the story.

At another time, after encountering severe gales during the winter on the American coast, be favored with a warm, pleasant day in January, eighteen miles east of Cape Cod, where we were becalmed a part of the day, the ship's decks and rigging so loaded with ice that she was almost unmanageable, being warm, we got the decks and rigging clear of ice. Having every appearance of an easterly gale, made every preparation to receive it, being in a dangerous place, -- a strong current from the Bay of Fundy setting us on the shoals, where many a ship is lost. Towards evening a breeze sprang up from the N. E., soon began to snow, the wind shifting to the South; it soon got to S. W., blowing almost a hurricane; put the ship before the wind to get, if possible, out of the Bay; we got to the North of George's Bank, the wind hauled to N. E., we carried all sail possible to clear the south shoal, just cleared that, the wind hauled to S. E., we then hove to, the wind blowing a tremendous gale, the wind going twice round the compass in one week, blowing an awful gale and snowing. In twenty-seven days after leaving within eighteen miles of Cape Cod, we got into Martha's Vineyard safe at anchor. It would require a more skillful pen to give the reader a just conception of our dangerous situation, -- for one week from the time we bore away, the ship was reported in the Bay by a schooner I spoke the day before -- a high premium was offered, but no one would take the risk. One hour after, the owner sent word to my wife that no insurance could be effected. She received by the same messenger the joyful tidings that the ship had just arrived in Martha's Vineyard.

I will relate one more narrow escape, -- to the east of Cape Dora, which place is noted for pirates, as well as is all Greece; the islands in the Archipelago that are inhabited by Greeks are fearful places for a merchant vessel to navigate.

I was bound from Asia Minor to Boston. Before leaving port, we heard that two pirate row-galleys were cruising in the Archipelago, and that they had captured two British armed vessels. The second day out, being becalmed a part of the day, we discovered one of them a distance from us. They were row-galleys with twenty sweeps on a side, and had two men at each sweep, so that they were easily distinguished from any other craft. My ship had something the appearance of a man-of-war when seen at a distance. They appeared to be afraid to venture too far out before satisfying themselves as to what we were. Before night, however, they seemed determined to try us at all hazards, and bore away for us. We having four six-pounders made very preparation to receive them, and as the wind was I thought it possible to keep them on the starboard side. We got our guns on that side, loaded with double-headed chain and grape shot. They had more than eighty men; our number was less than twenty. At about six o'clock, P. M., they came up within about fifteen yards, when, having a man with a lighted torch at each gun, they were ordered to fire all at once. The shot did good execution. The boat appeared much broken, and on my next voyage it was reported that one of the pirate galleys was destroyed to that time and place, and but one man saved on a lateen spar, to tell the story. The English armed merchant vessels taken and destroyed, and we spared? Ought I not to praise my Maker with my breath?

I shall now give from recollection, and in my own language, a correct statement of a conspiracy, to the facts of which I am ready to attest at any time; facts which are impressed on my mind as with indelible ink, which commenced at Smyrna, Asia Minor. After my ship was loaded and ready for sea, which was on Saturday, a day on which the family with whom I had formerly lived for three years and four months, went into the country to spend the Sabbath, I deferred sailing until Monday, giving orders to the chief mate to receive nothing on board susceptible of the plague; neither to suffer any one to visit the ship from the shore or other vessels, and to allow none of the ship's crew to go on shore, as the plague was raging to an alarming degree; and to be in readiness for weighing anchor when I came from the country, Monday morning.

I had not yet been on board, but had kept myself from exposure, as I was in the Van Lennep family. On Monday morning I arrived in Smyrna with Jacob and Richard Van Lennep, where we were informed by the clerk, that the plague had been communicated on board the ship, the second mate having the black vomit. A Jew doctor was sent to examine him, who on his return pronounced it to be the plague. I sent for a Turkish boat to take the mate on shore, where he was again examined by the same doctor, who still persisting that it was the plague, we were obliged to have him sent to the Plague Hospital, where, two days after, he died. Th cargo was then landed and put in a warehouse, to undergo a quarantine of forty days. It was necessary that the crew should go on shore, where they would perform a quarantine. I agreed with them to go on a point about two miles from town, where tents were to be made from the sails of the ship, to screen them from the heat of the day, and from the dew and damp air of the night. They were not to leave that place to go to town, or to any other place where they would be exposed to the plague, on condition that they should be supplied with provisions daily, and that their wages should go on during the quarantine. After they had remained there about twenty days, I saw some of them in town. I asked them how they came to deceive me by breaking their promise. I told them as they had broken their covenant, and exposed themselves to the plague, they need not return to the point, and that no wages would be paid them for what time they had been there. They returned to the point and enlisted the others in their favor, and agreed among themselves that they would stay until I visited them, (which I did every few days, to see that they were well supplied with provisions, and whether they were well,) and then kill me and the man who took me up in the boat, and taking my gold watch and whatever else I might have about my person, take the boat and flee to some of the islands for a few months, till it would be in manner forgotten. I so happened that I did not accompany the man who supplied them with provisions, until I heard of their plans. I then sent them word that they would receive no more supplies from me, as there was sufficient proof that they had forfeited all claims against me, by frequently being in the city, where they must have been exposed to the plague. Most of them remained there till the goods were again put on board, another crew shipped, and the vessel ready for sea; and no doubt they would have given me trouble had I not sailed under the escort of a British frigate. Jacob Van Lennep was a passenger on board of the frigate, and influenced the captain in my favor. After the goods were on board it became necessary for me to be on board occasionally; consequently I changed my lodgings to an inn kept be a widow lady. The night I went on board, the house was thronged with the old crew. The steward came to my room door. I went to the door, and upon opening it, the steward raised his hand, drawing a knife from his coat sleeve. I shut the door on him and locked it, and then rung the bell. A person coming up, I requested that a servant might be sent to Van Lennep for the clerk, who came and assisted me in getting on board. Several of them came alongside, with the intention of boarding while we were getting under way, but were kept off, and we sailed under the protection of the frigate. We had light breezes through the night. The next day, (which was the Sabbath,) being in the Gulf of Smyrna, with a head wind, the crew being very slow and sluggish in working the sails, the frigate got far ahead of us. After she got out of the gulf, she lay to for two or three hours, waiting for us and then filled away. I thought my crew and officers wished her to leave us, which was evident from what followed. After getting out of the gulf, the wind being in the N. W., I bore away and run down between Scio and the main. The weather was pleasant, but I had unpleasant forebodings of something, I knew not what. I knew that we were in a sea where it would not be strange if we met with piratical vessels. My crew, I began to suspect of being acquainted with that business, being all foreigners but one man, and he no help to me, as he lived forward with the others. His name was Henry Walch, a son of a respectable doctor in Boston; not a very bright your. Here I began to feel myself alone. The officers and sailors met frequently in groups forward, and under the lee of the long boat, talking low, as though consulting about something of vital importance. The chief mate was, to all appearance, a drinking person, calculated to poison the minds of the others, and only a fit companion for such as could drink from the same iniquitous bowl in which he delighted. I now began to reflect on my situation, and what could be done for my own safety and the safety of Henry, and of the property under my care, which required deep thought and fortitude. To show fear would only strengthen and encourage them; to be too severe would but enrage them. I found that in changing crews I had bettered myself but little, if any. Like a person with a burning fever, changing from side to side -- changing his place, but not his pain -- so I had changed my crew, but not their principles. I thought I could discover guilt in the countenances of the officers and men as they came to the helm. I determined on one thing, which was, to put myself in a situation of defence, so that one, single-handed, should not overpower me, unless I was taken unawares; and I hoped shortly to fall in with some man-of-war. I went below and loaded one musket and put a bayonet on it, one brace of pistols which I put under my pillow, and another which I put in my pockets, placing one in such a situation what when I stooped to examine the compass, it would fall from my pocket, so that the man at the helm might discover that I was armed, which I was in hopes would deter them for a time, by thinking to themselves that the first man who attacked me might lose his life, or get wounded at least. What influence this had I know not. Why they did not put their diabolical plan in execution while we were in the Archipelago, is a mystery to me, unless they were fearful of meeting some man-of-war, or being obliged to share their booty with others of the same stamp; but be that as it may, they suffered me to pursue my course till we passed the island of Milo, where we discovered a suspicious sail to the leeward of us, which was to all appearances, a piratical vessel, standing towards us. I bore away for her and gave her a bow gun, and made a formidable appearance by showing sixteen guns. The strange sail immediately altered her course and ran from us. But so far as I was concerned, my condition was not bettered. Had they boarded us and proved to be pirates, as they most probably were, my crew and myself would undoubtedly have met the sword, or had the privilege of walking the plank, two and two; a merciful way the pirates have of getting rid of the responsibility of shedding blood. As soon as I found myself clear of the pirate, I altered my course for Malta, thinking to get assistance from the American Consul. Before we reached Malta one of the crew refused to do duty. Had I been ignorant of their plans, his disobedience would, in all probability, have brought on the crisis, but I knew too well my situation to attempt to enforce obedience; so I made the best I could of the matter. But I was soon relieved by the discovery of the island from the mast-head when the sailor returned to duty. We arrived at Malta, one week from SMyrna. I wrote to the Consul, telling him my situation; but he answered my letter, saying there were no American sailors in port, neither were there any others he could get for me, in consequence of the plague raging so fearfully in Smyrna, from which place we had just arrived. I became well satisfied that I could get no help from Malta, and made up my mind to try to fall in with our squadron off Algiers. The next day I put to sea, with a favorable wind, but it soon changed and came ahead, and remained so for more than a week, during which we gained only one hundred miles.

This was a week of watchfulness and anxiety for me; the officers and men were stubborn and savage, constantly collecting in groups on the forward deck, in close consultation, as though they were plotting something of importance. Up to this time my orders had been obeyed, though with reluctance. One week from Malta, we had a good observation, and found ourselves about fifty miles from the island of Sardinia. The mate wrote up his log. This is a book which every vessel must keep. The observations are carefully noted; change of wind, deaths, and, in short, a careful history of the voyage, with such remarks as the mate may choose to make. On the day alluded to above, the mate, after finishing his work in the log, brought it into the after cabin, and laid it open before me. I cast my eyes upon the boo, and after looking over the reckoning, discovered the mate remarked as follows: -- "The men have been long in a state of MUTINY; and have threatened the life of the Captain. One man, a Spaniard, has volunteered to do the deed with a dirk he has in his chest; they then intend to heave the Captain overboard, run the ship on the Barbary coast, take the gold, (they supposed there was a large amount of specie on board,) load the boat with opium and silks, and after sinking the ship, go to some island and report the vessel lost. But I thought it only sailors' talk until to-day; I now find they are bound together as one man, and fully determined to commit the deed -- and furthermore they have threatened my life."

After reading these remarks, I sat still for a moment, thinking of my situation. Alone! nothing in sight but the water below and the blue sky above, and not one soul on board in whom I could place the least confidence! But no time is to be lost: something must be done, and that quickly. If I altered the ship's course, they would suspect me of having discovered their plot, and that would be immediate death for me. And if we continued on, by night we would be where they had resolved to kill me and take possession of the vessel. I had no time to lose, if, indeed, I could do anything to save my life. After a moment's reflection, I determined to try to save my life by stratagem. But how to reduce my stratagem to practice, was the important question. I resolved to make a confident of that mate -- the very man who in the beginning headed the conspirators! It was a desperate game, but desperate as it was, I had no choice. I called the steward, and told him to ask the mate to step into the cabin. In a few moments the mate made his appearance, much agitated and shedding tears. I pointed to the log, and said to him, "What does all this mean?" He replied, "It is a fact, Captain." "What is a fact?" said I. "Why, they intend to take your life, and mine too, when we are up with Sardinia, as written in the log." I asked how he knew it to be a fact now any more than before? Why, said I, may it not all be sailors' talk now, as you thought it to be before? He said he had become convinced by recent movements, and the unanimity which prevailed among them, that they were determined to carry their plot into operation. Yes, said I, you know it, now they have threatened your life. You now begin to think they are in earnest. This is not entirely new to me, said I, for I have read you for some time past, and have been prepared for the worst. I told him that I had marked him for the ring-leader of the plot; the mate of the vessel, the only person on board that I could make a confident of, for him to head a mutiny, and lead men on to commit such horrid crimes, was most wicked and unnatural. I spoke in the manner to him for some time, to satisfy myself of his sincerity. He appeared humble, and in truth, he had reason to feel humble; for whatever part he might have taken in the commencement of the conspiracy, it was now quite certain that he had lost favor with the others; and they, for their greater safety, had resolved to send him with me, into eternity! The reason of their threatening the mate's life, as I learned, was the division of the money; he contending for two shares, as he was an officer, they insisting on an equal division, as they were equally concerned in the mutiny and would have to suffer the same punishment in case of being detected.

Here I would pause for a moment. Reader, imagine yourself in my situation, with a blood-thirsty crew determined on your destruction in a few hours; alone on the ocean; no creature being near to counsel with; all your enemies anxiously waiting to arrive at the place agreed upon, to assassinate you and divide the money -- the price of blood. The thoughts of leaving a beloved wife and numerous relations who are daily anxiously expecting your return, after an absence of three years and nine months, to bemoan your detention; to think how anxious will be the inquiry of every sail that heaves in sight, "Is it the ship Ann? Does she bring no tidings of her?" How distressing the thought to the throbbing heart -- suspense -- never hearing of the awful tragedy! Weeping nights and awful dreams are likely to follow an affectionate breast till relieved by death. The mutiny on board the Somers, which must be fresh to your recollection, could hardly have been a resemblance of this. There were many American officers and sailors to devise plans; to watch their behavior, and at least some change of overpowering the mutineers. But with me it was far different. Only two against a ship's crew -- the treacherous mate and myself; and he, in all probability, would have left me to fight single-handed, in hopes of their sparing his life.

It is difficult at all times to look into the human heart; and still more difficult it is to trace and understand the thousand causes which may operate upon and influence it. But it was not very difficult for me to see that the mate considered his life in danger. You will readily believe that such a situation is sufficiently dreadful to make the stoutest heart quail. I told him to sit down, and as far as possible to compose his feelings; and when sufficiently calm, to go on deck and pursue his duty fearlessly, and say nothing to any of the crew, for that would be quick and certain death for us both. I then said to the mate, seeing I had to confide in him, that there was but one way for us to save ourselves, and that is by stratagem; a few hours will find us near Sardinia, in the night; the very time and place set apart for the concluding act in this fiendish plot. And so difficult is the plan which I have hit upon for us to save our lives, that a single mis-step or a careless word, will cost us both our lives. You are now satisfied that the crew have doomed you as well as me; and you have made up your mind to save yourself or die with me.

It is well known to the crew, I continued, that the American squadron is off Algiers, and we must make them believe that we are among the fleet to-night, before we get up with the island. This will prevent them from carrying their plans into execution to-night. Now, to deceive them, when you come on deck after dinner, I shall find some fault with you about the rigging of the ship and her general appearance, as not being in a fit condition to be visited by our officers, with whom I am expecting to meet every hour. I will keep all hands on deck busily employed at the rigging, and whatever command I give you, I shall give my reasons so as to let them hear me. By this means I shall keep their hands and their minds employed. My object was to get them fatigued, so that when they had an opportunity of going below, they would feel disposed to sleep, and leave putting their plans in force for the time being. Towards night I will request you to go aloft and look out for a sail. In doing that you must use all the skill you are master of, and if you cannot discover any thing, just before sunset you must report one on the starboard bow, just off the island of Sardinia; then, after looking a few minutes longer, report another large man-of-war on the larboard quarter, towards the Barbary coast. This, you see, will lead them to think that we are right among the American squadron, and as a matter of safety, they will defer the execution of their hellish project, till we are clear of the fleet.

I then dismissed the mate, who went on deck, and I was left alone to think of my dreadful situation, -- shut up in my own cabin, surrounded by a rebellious crew, who were only waiting for night to cut my throat and heave me overboard. Now was this all. Before, I had been the possessor of my own secrets: and although they might and probably would overpower me, I was prepared to sell my life as dear as possible. But, in case the mate should prove doubly treacherous, the more surely to entrap me, I should be without even that chance. It is one of the most difficult things to do, to place confidence in a man who you know to have been a traitor. Such was my case. I had not committed my secrets to a man, who a day or two before, was maturing a plan to cut my throat, and take command of the ship himself. It was difficult to see how he could be so black-hearted a villain then, and honest now. One thing at least was certain. A few hours would tell the story, and whatever my fate was to be, I began to feel anxious to know the worst.

After dinner, the mate came on deck. I was, as usual, walking the quarter-deck, and any conversation between him and me would be heard by the man at the helm, and he, when relieved, would go below and communicate it to the rest of the crew. I turned to the mate and said, now we have a fair wind, and very likely shall fall in with the squadron and be detained, perhaps lose a night's run, and have some of our crew taken out. I then made mention of the rigging of the ship, as not being seamanlike, and not as I would like to have her seen by any of our men-of-war. I gave orders to have all hands called up, and when they were on deck, gave orders to the mate about what I wanted done; managing to say all this in the hearing of the men, who were busily engaged at their work; frequently expressing my fears that the squadron would fall in with us before we could put the ship in a condition to receive them. I kept them pretty steadily at work, not knowing what moment my blood was to stain the deck of my own vessel. Towards night I requested the mate to go aloft and look out for a sail. After remaining on the topsail-yard for some time, he sung out, "I can't see anything, sir." I then told him to go on the the top-gallant-yard, which he did, and in about ten minutes sung out "Sail ho!" "Where away?" said I. "On the starboard bow." "What does she appear like?" "Can't tell, she is a great way off." Pretty soon he reported another on the lee-quarter, and just before the sun went down, he reported them to be large vessels, like men-of-war, standing towards us. Then, said I, we are surrounded by our squadron. By this time night had set in, and how well my plan had worked, could only be seen by what followed. A slender thread it is, upon which hangs human life. The least failure in this stratagem would have been instant death to the mate, myself and Henry. The very trick itself would tell them of our weakness and our fears; and tell them also, in unmistakable language, that all then had to do to succeed, was but to make the effort. I know it to be a fact that when men are in imminent danger, they note with intense anxiety the minutest circumstances, and attach the greatest importance to them; and however small this manoeuvre may appear to the landsman who was never out of sight of land, I have reason to believe that the preparations made that afternoon to make our vessel appear well in case we should fall in with the squadron, and my frequent mention of our near approach to it, added much to our safety, of seeing the two sails at a great distance, just before sunset, and did make the crew defer their plot till a more convenient season.

The next morning we saw no sail; and near sundown the mate resorted to the manoeuvre before mentioned -- how well it succeeded the sequel will show. The next morning we discovered a frigate running down for us, which proved to be an English man-of-war. He fired a gun ahead of us; we paid no attention to it, because we wished to speak to him. He fired a gun another shot ahead; I knew then I must show my colors, or he would fire the next into us. I told the mate to hoist the colors, Union down; he did so; they then hauled to windward and stood off. I told the mate to take a reef in the colors, and hoist them half-mast to show them that we were in distress; he did so, but they paid no attention to it. It is impossible for me to describe my feelings on this occasion. The flag at half-mast is a signal of distress -- a language understood by all nations; and that commander who disregards it, is unworthy the name. There I was with my life threatened; and I had no good reason to believe that I should live to see another morning. But the captain cared little or nothing for that -- I could get no help from him.

We then hauled down our colors; stood away on our course, being then past Algiers, and I did not intend to run in sight of land, for fear they might see the coast clear of vessels, and take advantage of the times. In the afternoon we fell in with the American sloop-of-war Fire-Fly, Capt. Rogers, bound for the squadron. I hoisted my colors and hove to; he sent his boat alongside, with orders not to board, if we were from Smyrna, as the plague raged there at an alarming extent.

I requested the Lieutenant to ask the Captain to lay to till I could come alongside. I went on board and related what had taken place on board my ship, and asked assistance. The Commander replied that he was short-manned, and could spare none; neither could he receive any of my men on board his vessel, on account of the plague, and as I was not manned according to the marine law, he did not feel bound to assist me. After much conversation, I became satisfied that I could not get the assistance I wanted, and requested him to supply me with irons, and to lay by me till I could put the ringleaders in irons. When the irons were passed on board, the sailors looked somewhat confused; the irons on deck -- the man-of-war alongside -- how different -- they not suspecting me to have known their plans. I told the mate to see how many pair there were, and then told him to have the stern boat run up and secured, and the ordered all hands aft. They looked pale and alarmed.

I spoke to the Spaniard and told him to go forward and bring the knife he had threatened to assassinate me with, which he did. I then asked him if that was the knife he intended to kill me with. He said, Yes, sir. I threw the knife overboard and ordered the mate to put the villain in irons, hand and foot. He said not a word. We then put five more of the ringleaders in irons, and confined them in different rooms, and gave them strict orders to speak to no one except myself.

I then hauled down my colors and filled away on my course for Gibraltar, ordering the remainder of the crew to go to their duty, and not let me hear a word from any of them; and I also made them show some respect to the mates, although from my heart I despised them.

I shall not try to enter into their hearts to describe their feelings, when in solitary confinement they had full opportunity to think of their situation. There can be no doubt but the Spaniard spoken of, who had volunteered to do the deed, was a perfect murderer. It is difficult to see how he could expect mercy, when he owned to my face that he had volunteered to stab me. He was, without doubt, an old pirate, and in all probability had murdered many. Many have expressed surprise that I had not punished them when in my power, as far as the laws of the land would justify me in. My motto in, "If thy enemies repent, forgive them." I believe the reflection of returning good for intended evil, has been ten-fold more satisfactory than that which could be anticipated from being an instrument of their misery. Their after conduct and behavior manifested sorrow and repentance. The all-wise Being preserved my life, and I leave them in his hands.

At the time of which I write, the Mediterranean Sea was infested with pirates, and the numerous islands in the Archipelago gave them the best hiding places in the world. Most of my crew had, without doubt, shipped for the purpose of murdering me, for the great amount of gold which they supposed was on board.

I kept a pretty strict watch over them, until I got to Gibraltar, where I arrived safely, with six men in irons. But here were other difficulties. I had supposed that when we got to Gibraltar, we should be able to get rid of the present crew, and to get one with whom it would be safe to venture to sea.

Perhaps my readers may not exactly understand where all these places mentioned by me are, and for their information I will spend a few moments. Smyrna is situated on the eastern side of the Archipelago, in Asia Minor, and near the north-east extremity of the Mediterranean Sea, which is 2000 miles long, and dotted by innumerable islands. On its northern shore are Spain, Italy and Turkey in Europe; on the east, Turkey in Asia Minor, and on the south, the African coast, the principal ports of which are Tripoli and Algiers. Perhaps there never was a place where pirates held such undisputed sway as they have in the Mediterranean Sea.

Before the great Revolution, when the Turks had complete control of Greece, which lies on the western side of the Archipelago, and almost surrounded by water, the only pursuit of the inhabitants was piracy. There are many mansions pointed at to this day, where once lived the pirate princes.

When the reader remembers the date of which I am writing, 1815, and the people by whom I was surrounded, he will not wonder if in every man's face I saw a pirate. But thanks to the great Revolution and to the general progress of civilization, and to the constant appearance of the American and English fleets in that sea, whose bloody tragedies are not of rare occurrence. There was a time when the mariners of Tripoli and Algiers considered everything which sailed under a Christian flag in the Mediterranean the lawful prize of him who found it first. But Commodore Decatur taught them a lesson that they have not forgotten yet. After vessels pass the straits of Gibraltar, they have an open sea before them until they reach the American coast.

When I arrived at Gibraltar, the plague panic had gone before me. I was not allowed to land a man or lower a boat. I sent a note to our COnsul, who answered it by his clerk, as he could not come on board himself. He wrote to me saying there was none of the squadron in port, nor any American sailors; but as Gibraltar was the rendezvous, they would be in soon. He communicated to me under the stern of the ship what he did not think proper to write. He promised me that as soon as any of the squadron came in, he would use his influence to get me an American crew.

On the third day, a war schooner tender from the squadron arrived. The Captain was informed by the COnsul of my situation, and sent me a line saying he had to go out of the straits, and when he returned he would take my men and give me an American crew. Three days after he left, a "Levanter" came on, blowing very hard. These gales often last a month.

I knew that the schooner could not return during the gale, and fearing the plague might break out in his vessel, and be communicated to the fleet, thus rendering all hope of assistance vain, resolved to put to sea again.

There was an evident change in my crew; the ringleaders were ironed and could do no harm. The others knew they were closely watched, and we being well armed and they not, they could not overcome us but by a desperate fight. I was quite sure that I could see a change in them, and no doubt they repented bitterly that they ever entered into the foul plot.

After thinking all these things over maturely, I told the mate my determination, and that he might take his choice, to go with me or swim ashore, as I could not lower a boat. He said he knew that, and if he should reach the shore he would be shot at by the guard; but, said he, we may as well jump overboard and be drowned or shot at, as we certainly would be murdered if we put to sea. I told him he could have one hour to make up his mind in; that my mind was made up. In a chart time he said, "Captain, if you are determined to go to sea, I will go with you; but we shall certainly be murdered as soon as we are out at sea." Very well, said I, we will take what comes; we will put everything in such a condition that a few men can work the vessel, and then weigh anchor and drop down under the stern of a British man-of-war near by; put some of the most turbulent men in irons, and then put to sea.

I told the mate that when we were out to sea, he must not agree with the second mate in his observations or his dead-reckoning; but that he must endeavor to make him believe there was a difference between taking an observation in the western Ocean, and when surrounded by land in the Mediterranean.

I would here remark that the second mate had been a midshipman on board a man-of-war in the Mediterranean. My object was to get the second mate lost, so that they would not have any one to navigate the ship after they were out of sight of land. This was one means of security, for if they could not take the ship into some port, they would have no object in taking the vessel. After reducing our preliminary plans to practice, we weighed anchor and put to sea.

The first day out the mates got their quadrants just before noon, but in taking the sun they differed. The chief mate was careful not to let the second mate see his quadrant, but told him that it must be differently adjusted when out to sea, than when in the Mediterranean, which he made him believe.

When I went on deck, the chief mate said he believed the second mate's quadrant was not adjusted for the Western Ocean, and handed it to me. I put it out one degree, so that it did actually differ. We told the second mate there was a difference in the dip of the sun, which induced him to give up keeping any reckoning.

Things now began gradually to look more favorable; the men seemed to be more reconciled. But still I was resolved to leave nothing in their power, as they had everything to fear; for if I landed safe with them in the United States, I could lodge them in prison, which they dreaded and would resort to any means to prevent.

We ran far south of the Western Islands, so that they should not know when we passed them, or how far west we were, that they might think us farther than we really were, in hopes they would become more reconciled; having no one to navigate the vessel; the second mate not keeping any reckoning or journal; believing as he did that there was a difference between the Western Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea in keeping a ship's way. When a little way west of the Island a man was kept aloft nights to look for the Boston lights, so that they might give up all thoughts of taking the ship, having no one to navigate her, which I believe had a good effect, as things daily appeared more favorable; their conntenances<sic> changing from that of a tiger to that of a lamb; speaking more pleasantly, and more willingly doing their duty; treating the officers with more respect, and in fact more like sailors of our nation.

Thus far it had been a fatiguing and sleepless voyage to me, yet, through the mercy of God, I am where I am and what I am. Nothing of moment transpired until we were overtaken by a tremendous storm, in 1815 -- the great September gale, long to be remembered by those who witnessed it at sea or on shore; blowing the spray of salt water into the country, thirty miles from the sea-shores. Here I must say, there seemed to be a providence in having my crew in confinement; for had we had a full crew, in all probability we should have been lost by having the gale strike us suddenly, when under a press of sail; but being short of men, we were obliged to shorten sail in time, and therefore we had but little sail on. The gale lasted so long that it became necessary to let the prisoners out; the other part of the ship' company being worn out with fatigue, and insufficient to manage the vessel in a gale. The second man put in irons, when he was released, got down on his knees, and kissed my feet and wept. They all appeared humble and penitent, and it affected me much. I could easily have wept myself at seeing them so humble and affectionate after being so long confined in irons; kept on bread and water; expecting the penalty of a just law, for a mutiny on the sea, and that for filthy lucre, encouraged by the chief mate of the ship. I felt for them, and said to myself, it your looks and actions are an index to your hearts, I forgive you though you were ready to slay me; and may God forgive every repenting sailor; to God I give the praise.

From this to Boston, about one thousand miles, the officers and crew were pleasant and faithful to their duty, kind and affectionate to me, as though endeavoring to gain my confidence, probably in fear of the consequences after reaching America. The first night after we arrived, the mate left the ship, being in danger of his life from the crew.

After the ship was discharged of her cargo, the men were all paid their full wages at the owner's request, as fast as they had an opportunity of leaving the States; they having made confession to me, stating that they were persuaded by the mate assuring them there was much gold on board. The mates asked recommendations for obtaining mates' berths, which I refused, considering them fitter subjects for a State Prison, than officers on board any vessel.

Thus ended a perilous voyage, in which my life was mercifully preserved by that Being whose footsteps are on the boisterous ocean, and who makes the wrath of man to praise him.

Since having been the recipient of so many unmerited blessings, I feel it a duty and a privilege in exerting myself for the benefit of that class of our race which is liable to so many disasters and sufferings, from a life spent on the water, either on the ocean or on our inland seas. Men are equally exposed to hardships by heavy and sudden gales, shipwreck on the lake shores, or foundered by being upset in squalls, accidents by fire, and many other incidents that landsmen are not liable to. We have many salt-water seamen on our lakes; if their minds have been poisoned at sea by a rebellious crew, the malady may be spread on the lakes, and cause much suffering and loss of life and property.

Sailors' boarding houses generally are schools for every vice that can be though of; we want a comfortable, respectable place, where they can board in private -- where they can have the benefit of a school during the winter months, to improve their minds and morals, and fit them for usefulness here below, and happiness beyond the grave.

Citizens of Buffalo! you owe much to them, for through their instrumentality Buffalo has already become a populous and wealthy city; you need their services, and without them business would take another course; they want your assistance at times, to encourage them in sobriety and steady habits; they are mostly strangers here, having no homes or friends. When out of employ, they seek a boarding place; being sailors, they are not admitted to respectable boarding houses; they must go to such places as are called sailors' boarding houses, where they keep liquor, and use every means to get their hard earnings from them. Frequently they are robbed, and frequently they are missing; no one gives any account of them. The latest they were heard of, perhaps, was in some sailors' boarding house, dancing after a violin, intoxicated.

One object of this little pamphlet is, to open the way for their benefit, where they can have their effects safe, and feel that they are with friends, away from these groggeries and houses of ill-fame. This will encourage them in sobriety, and make them better subjects, more useful and trustworthy -- an honor to their profession, a blessing to their connections, and a satisfaction to their employers; which may God grant for Christ's sake.

On my return passage, reflecting on my seafaring life and adventures, the many trials and dangers encountered and survived, the threatenings of an offended, righteous God, it appeared I was hazarding that which was not my own (my life), by being so frequently warned and yet persisting in the same business, giving no heed to warnings or conscience. After discharging the crew, I determined to quit the sea; went into the country, nine miles from Boston, (Roxbury,) bought a country seat, where I removed and had every thing that heart could wish of a temporal nature, to render our enjoyment complete, -- but a few months of rural felicity seemed to satisfy my desire for retirement from business. I  rode nearly every day to Boston; there being a company formed, of importing merchants, to build a packet ship for Liverpool, they called on me to be concerned with them; there were to be sixteen owners with the captain, all importing merchants but the captain. Mr. Hinckley being from home at the time, supposing he would be one of the number, I agreed to see to the building, and take a share, and sail her; after fixing on the model and engaging the ship-builder, Hinckley came home the night we met on a business meeting. I called on him, told him what we had done, and that it was expected he would be one of the sixteen. He said they were all fine men, with money enough; but as he would have all the trouble in getting freight out or loading the ship himself, he would have nothing to do with her unless he had one-third, and if they would not do that, and if he had not as good a ship as I wanted, I might build one, and take as much of her as I pleased. I told at this meeting what Hinckley said. They would not consent to give any one more than one-sixteenth; I asked to be excused, they refused; but in one week we had another meeting, when they consented to release me. I called on Hinckley, he told me to go and build a packet, to beat the Courier, (she being the fastest packet on the line,) and take as much of her as I desired. We built the ship Triton, and she was owned by David Hinckley, Edmund Munroe and myself. The first passage out we were knocked on our beam ends by a sea; the same sea run under and hove her back on her keel; here, had I taken the advice of an experienced master of a vessel, our ship would never have righter; he argued against stanchioning the ballast down; had we not, being casks or potatoes, they would have shifted on one side and possibly capsized the ship bottom up. Mark this, the first passage after resolving to quit the sea, how near being lost! How apt frail man is, in time of detention, in peril, and in sickness, to resolve and re-resolve to do different, but after being carried through, fall into the same snare again through temptation, and those good resolutions baffled; but before they are put in practice we find we have lingered too long; the summer of our day is ended, and we on a wreck, near the gulf of despair. He that being often reproved and hardeneth his heart shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

I now felt to repent that I had departed from a good resolution, as I thought, and placed myself in a situation where danger would be likely to beset my path as it had before; and I could not so well leave the business now, as before, as I owned a part of the ship, and it was expected that I would sail her for a season. I made three voyages in her in opposition to the Courier, a packet, and beat her every passage. She was taken off the line and we had it to ourselves.

After another voyage from Liverpool to Boston, had one of the most severe gales that I ever had at sea. We were obliged to scud for eight hours, I believe, under bare poles. Though my sails were new Russia canvas, and furled snug to the yards with new gaskets, they blew loose. As we saw the least appearance of a clew loosening, men were sent up with new rattling, to stop it from blowing loose, but in vain -- the wind overpowered us. The mainsail, foresail-main and fore-topsails, with some others, were wholly lost while scudding. Here you will see, in this awful disaster, we were not left to ourselves, but wonderfully favored. As soon as the sail from the clew blew out a year square, it would whip to pieces, and fly away. Otherwise the ship must have blown under. When the last sail blew loose, I gave orders to the mate to send men up and stop the clew. He came aft and said he could not get a man in the rigging, and he himself could not hold on the rigging. This was refusing their duty at a perilous moment, when every life was at stake. No one could have presumed that that sail would have blown away as did the others, but so it was. As it blew loose, it went with the wind. We then had no sail to scud under, in case it was wanted. The sea was running mountains high, and coneing. The ship was in danger of being swamped, as the sea, being becalmed, run faster than the ship, when in the trough of the sea. A dangerous situation, you will say, if you were ever at sea in a gale. What would I have given at that moment, to have been sure of this precious moment being allowed me to pen this down! The sea in its awful, terrific appearance, every wave threatening our destruction as it approached us. Some thing must be done, and that immediately. And but one thing remained to be done; -- that was, to luff her to, which [was unusually dangerous. After luffing to, if falling off in the trough of the sea, we should surely be swamped. Desperate as it was, we must do it. We did it and were blessed. The Rev. Mr. Giles, of Newburyport, was a passenger on board. His prayers for our safety might have been heard and answered.

God is our refuge, tried and proved,
   Amid a stormy world;
We will not fear though earth be moved,
   And hills in ocean hurled.

The waves may roar, the mountains shake,
   Our comforts shall not cease;
The Lord his saints will not forsake,
   The Lord will give us peace.

Sweet peace of conscience, heavenly guest,
   Come, fix thy mansion in my breast;
Dispel my doubts, my fears control,
   and heal the anguish of my soul.

After the gale abated, as soon as she would bear it, we got a storm-sail on, to keep head to wind, and rode it out without any more injury to the ship after, when we bent our old sails, and with a favorable wind, were wafted to our desired haven.

I now left the sea, to retire to the country, and moved to Greenbush, opposite Albany, where we hired rooms for the summer, and boarded with Judge Cheever. On the passage from New York to Albany, lost a mulatto boy who was given me by his father to bring up. His father had sailed with me as steward for many years. He was an active, affectionate boy, ten or twelve years old. Visited my relatives that I had not seen for twenty years, and sought out a place where I intended to spend the remaining part of my days. Bought a nice farm in Benton, two miles from the beautiful village of Penn Yan, where I farmed it for four years, raised beautiful crops, put up some buildings, and bought eight acres of land in the village. Having a frame nearly ready, or the timber prepared for putting up a house on the farm, moved it in the village, and put it up there to my sorrow, as it was the means of my losing my farm, and much property, as I afterwards moved into the village, and engaged in running stages, keeping a public house, which almost made me a drunkard and a pauper here. Although in shoal water, my bark would not answer the helm, and frequently gave a hard thump on the bottom, yet made shift to war and get in deeper water and more ship. Yet eventually she dragged and went on shore, and you might have seen the hull a few months since, where now stands a fine mansion.

After being engaged four years in the stages and tavern, sold the stand for an Academy, but never realized all that it sold for. I got credit for a small stock of goods and kept a small shop; my stock being limited, gained but little, if any.

I was encouraged to keep a temperance tavern, which I did, having a few groceries which would be useful in a public house. I continued the grocery to help the tavern. My Penn Yan friends helped me on the start, and gave me some liberal donations; yet my craft had stern-way, and a head wind. It gave me most unpleasant feelings, seeing that my friends were trying to heave my sluggish bark ahead, which appeared like one water-logged, that would not steer. Here I found my confidence shaking, and began to think I was laboring for a bad paymaster, and would be safer to be in business for some one else than myself. My credit began to suffer as well as my creditors. I did not palm myself on my friends in the country, without money; I came with three or four thousand dollars in my pocket; and afterwards, sold my cottage in Roxbury for one thousand, my share of the Triton for fifteen hundred, my chronometer for three hundred, my pianoforte for nearly three hundred; but it seemed to so something like my sails in the gale -- before the wind. As the loss of the sails was the means of our lives being spared, to all human appearance, so the loss of property may be the only way that my future happiness was to be secured. I have at times felt to rejoice in the loss of money, as I did in the sails, as money is the root of much evil, and no doubt would have been idolized by the possessor. Had everything gone agreeably to my calculations and wishes, I should have been accumulating, and might have been treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath, having no hope of a blessed hereafter. My destitution occasioned me to consider my ways -- where I had been, what I had done, where I now am, and where going, and what yet remained for me to do.

After pondering over in my mind what to do -- being more involved by trying to sustain the temperance house -- I determined to make another effort, hired three hundred dollars and laid it out, as I thought, to the best advantage, in hopes the temperance cause would prevail. After giving it a thorough trial, as I thought, and finding no encouragement, I was obliged to leave it to its own fate, though unwillingly. Being a member of Christ's flock on earth, I felt a desire to be useful in the cause. I thought of the sailor's wretched condition, and what I could do for them and watermen. I went of Rechester<sic> to advise with those engaged in their behalf on the canals and in the bethel, and was told there were agents on the canals, and preaching in the bethel church on the Sabbath; but if I could devise any way to support myself, and be serviceable, they would gladly engage me in that benevolent cause.

After mature consideration that prejudices existed against those agents who had salaries paid them, I determined, if engaged in that laudable cause, to be at no expense to the public.

I was recommended by an agent for the bethel to go to Buffalo, and take over-sight of a temporary seamen's house, which the ladies of Buffalo had incorporated, and sustained for eighteen months, and which they felt encouraged to sustain, with the help of ladies from other villages, which was certainly praiseworthy, and for which sailors as well as philanthropists ought ever to be grateful to those benevolent ladies for their unwearied exertions to comfort the suffering and afflicted, and to raise the dejected out of the mire, and enjoy his right mind.

Feeling harassed in my mind I determined to sell every thin that was suitable, and pay as many of my debts as I could, and go to Troy, being many there whom I had before known, in hopes ill luck would not follow me. Being a dull time for business, and receiving a letter from Buffalo, I felt desirous of going there. Returned to Penn Yan. Then having another from that quarter, went and engaged to keep the Seamen's Home, which we found well furnished and well sustained by the ladies. They appeared every think that was agreeable, and calculated to render the inmates comfortable and happy. The house was spacious, being four stories. It required much help. The ladies frequently favored us with their visits, which was gratifying to us being strangers in Buffalo. The house soon filled up with boarders. Things went on well, the former keeper of the Home had bills outstanding against his boarders, which were left with me for collection, which occasioned some dissatisfaction; some disputed the bills, some left the Home on that account. I felt in hopes good might be done here. Seamen were attentive mornings, especially in time of reading and prayers. Some attention was paid to attending church and prayer meetings. Respectful at table, no profane language, no disputings, very little appearance of drinking to excess, if any. It was no less than gratifying to me, after having associated more or less for some eighteen years with that class of men, knowing their habits, to see them so different in their manners. How gratifying to the friends of humanity, to see the sons of Neptune becoming reformed and in their right mind, sober and respectable, useful men, who can be relied on in time of need! How much praise is due those benevolent ladies, who were prompted by fine sympathetic feelings to engage in such praiseworthy calling, to spend their time and strength that sailors might have a respectable home and clean beds to rest their weary limbs on, a good piece of roast beef and plum pudding to regale on, when safely moored in a fine haven. Though the ladies had many things to contend with, yet the Home was sustained, and did much good for three years -- the term they rented the establishment for. Many bad debts had made it more urgent for the society to employ their needles and give parties, which they seemed to do cheerfully. As the ladies have set the example, it is hoped the gentlemen will use their influence to carry it forward, that great good may grow out of it; that those mothers in Israel, who have toiled so long and hard, may have the satisfaction of seeing the seed sown by their hands spring up and bring forth fruit to the glory of God a hundred fold. How many hearts are already changed, and souls saved through their instrumentality, will only be revealed in eternity, at the great Feast of the Lamb.

Having saved a few dollars from my salary, laid it out in boots and shoes, and moved to Yorkshire, Cataraugus, opened a shoe store, being recommended there, but found it a poor place for a cash business, being but little in circulation. Could sell the produce by paying the Buffalo prices.

I remained there one year, and I moved to Aurora, where I opened a temperance house. I found much opposition, and little or no encouragement. I gave that up while money lasted sufficient to take me to Buffalo. There, in 1848, I published a pamphlet of some of my adventures while following the sea, which sold well. From the help obtained from the sale of them, I resolved to do something for sailors and watermen on our inland waters, as well as for the support of my own family. I travelled much and lectured a little; the more I engaged in it, the more my feelings were interested in the seaman's cause; the more determined to persevere, feeling it a duty and a privilege, if the Lord was pleased to make me an instrument in his hand of doing good to that class of our subjects -- a duty devolving on our government, they being the bulwark of our Republic. None but a sailor can do a sailor's duty; none but a sailor can know a sailor's sufferings.

I had letters from many of the clergy, recommending the object; travelled at my own expense to see whether there was a possibility of success, and found it everywhere commended as a worthy object. Some churches said they would bear their proportionable part, should it go into operation. I see nothing to hinder but a willingness to do good. My feelings are more and more enlisted the nearer I approximate the object of my desires, though at times I feel a relaxation; when I would do good, evil is present. Shall I receive good at the hand of the Lord -- and shall I not receive evil there? Trials are sometimes blessings in disguise. I pray for faith to overcome them. I find it one of the hardest trials to possess my soul; though I should bridle my tongue, my heart will rise in rebellion; the adversary is truly like a roaring lion seeking to devour. How much we need patience, watchfulness and grace to help us through these rough and thorny places. I do not expect to always travel on a smooth plain, where there are no steep, rugged hills to surmount, or dales without some sloughs to pass through; in quiet, without meeting neither false guides nor discouragement; might as well expect a clear atmosphere and bright sun, without clouds and storms to replenish the earth with moisture. My life has been a checkered one, and continues so to be.

I removed to Palmyra, being more central for my business, and rents lower, as well as wood. I continued travelling, and these pamphlets being so favorably spoken of, was solicited to extend the work and make it into a bound book, which I commenced, but my eyes being somewhat inflamed, I was soon obliged to leave it for several months, though now commenced again.

It is with difficulty that I write, but should I curtail the work, the reader may think it sufficiently lengthy. Here, I would ask indulgence to swell upon the subject that first stimulated me to put pen to paper, and which is now my design, -- to labor for the good of watermen, that they may become reformed, new creatures in Christ Jesus.

Some twenty years since, it was thought a thing almost impossible that a sailor could be converted; but now where are greater displays of divine grace, or more wonderful illustrations of diving mercy, than are witnessed on the ocean? Where has the Holy Spirit descended more abundantly and more powerfully than with sailors, where they have had pious officers? Thousands have become new creatures, and thousands are training in the school of the sea for eminent service here and glory hereafter. Would that this were the case here on the lakes and canals; though dreadful to tell, they are training in a school for destruction and infamy of the most dangerous kind, ruinous to themselves and destructive to others unlearned, but in sin.

It must be allowed that sailors have many and great temptations to lead them astray, therefore they need more laboring with to convince them of the sinfulness of sin. Though there may be a Bethel and preaching, but few of the number can be gathered in from sailors' boarding-houses, or groggeries, you may say, for such they generally are. Can any good come out of such a Nazareth? They want the living truth, or how should they believe, and how shall they believe without they hear, and how shall they hear unless they read for themselves, and how can they read unless taught? There are many in this enlightened age, who if they had the Bible could not read or understand it. They have afflictions to bear, which only harden, for want of wisdom to know how to apply them, for they are frequently sent for our good. I can say, in fact and in truth, that I have been in many instances, even on a bed of sickness, willing to suffer pain of body, that I might be brought back to my Heavenly Father, from whom I had strayed. I found a comfort in it, and God was pleased to raise me from a bed of languishing and restore me to health. Though but a little afflicted, I was made greatly to rejoice in my Redeemer and in many things. I can truly say with Job, that it was good. God has blessed me in prosperity and friends for many years, and has required no more than would naturally flow to an earthly friend for small favors and kind treatment, -- my heart and affections, -- which were his, for he made them, and afterwards purchased them with a great price. Ought I not to adore? Though a man live many years, and rejoice in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. We are doomed to trouble in our worldly affairs. Loss of property has a wonderful influence upon those you think friends, and experience teaches that when property goes, so go supposed friends, as did my sails before the wind. How much more to be prized in true, uninterrupted friendship, than fine gold. It is like a rock to cast anchor on, sure and steadfast, to be relied upon in time of need, when other things fail.

Here again I must lay down my pen for two reasons: my eyes have become inflamed, and disappointment in means to publish what is already written. One thing is certain and consoling: The same hand that has stood by me in time of trouble, so many times and ways, ever liveth and is the same, to-day, and ever will be. He can give me light, He can give me sight, He can give me friends and means. The gold is his, the cattle on a thousand hills are his, and the hearts of men are his. Shall I doubt or fear while having such a Friend and Father? Oh! for more faith, more love, more holiness -- and what shall I more say?

Hosanna! with a cheerful sound,
   To God's upholding hand,
Ten thousand snares attend us round,
   And yet secure we stand.


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