The following document is a transcription from a photocopy of a letterpress set pamphlet style publication with colored paper wraps, measuring approximately 8 1/8” x 4 3/8”. Text pages number 36 pages. There is no date of publication, but the text is dated 1901 at the end of the story. The cover bears the following information; handwritten at the top of the wrap in ink (“No. 1.)”, title is indicated as “MUTINY ON THE OCEAN WAVE”, author is listed as “By LEWIS E. JONES, SR.”*, and imprint is “Herald Printing House, Hartington”.
* Note that Lewis E. Jones Sr. is actually indicated as Lewis Evan Jones Jr. for the sake of this archive, as his father’s name was also Lewis Evan Jones. Once in America, this author had a son, also named Lewis Evan Jones, who for the sake of this archive is denominated as Lewis Evan Jones III.
Note: In handwriting at the end of the editors note (between brackets) in the introduction is written “age 17” to indicate that Lewis Evan Jones was only seventeen years old when he participated in this voyage.
“Mutiny on the Ocean Wave.
[The following story was written by Mr. Lewis E. Jones, from memory, and is vouched by him that every word is true and happened as it is written. This voyage was made by him from Liverpool to New York, from there to Baltimore, from there to Rotterdam, Holland, from there to Liverpool, thence to Charleston, South Carolina, in the ship St. Lawrence of New York, during the years 1842 – 43. – Ed.]
Short stories told now and then.
Relieve the craniums of some men;
Such cumbrous stuff is not to save,
Then why carry them with you to the grave.
One day while strolling leisurely along the dockside of Liverpool, I heard two boys converse together, which attracted my attention. One said to his companion that the American ship St. Lawrence, of New York, lying in the Princess Dock, wanted a boy; that he was going to see if he could secure the place. This was near dinner time. After dinner I went down to that ship, and saw the mizzen royal flopping in the wind. This is the loftiest of the fourth sail on the third mast. One of the big boys spoken of was on his way up the rigging to furl this sail. He seemed very clumsy and slow getting up the rigging, and when he got up did not know how to gather the sail together so as to make a neat job of it. I noticed a man whom I learned was the chief mate, watching him from the dock. After he had made several attempts, the mate called him down. The boy walked off crest-fallen. After he had disappeared, I walked up to the mate, thinking that this was his way of finding out what a boy could do, I asked him if I could go up and furl that sail. He asked where I had learned to furl such sails. Answering him that many times a day in the Mediterranean it was my business to furl the royals, while the men were at the heavier sails. He doubted that such a small boy as I was could furl such sails in heavy winds. It was blowing quite stiff at this time. Finally he said I could try. I went aboard, doffed my jacket, and went up the rigging one a trot, getting out on the royal yard, gathering the sail on one side and then the other, passing the gaskets around, gathering the slack of the sail in the center, passing around a netting made for that purpose, I had the bunt in the center like a drum, all in ship shape. I descended the rigging as lively as I went up, picking up my jacket and walked where the mate stood, watching my every movement. He also walked towards me without saying a word, handing me a card which instructed the shipping master who was shipping a crew for this ship, to place me on the list. There were many of these shipping masters in Liverpool, as well as every large seaport. When a ship has taken in all her cargo, the captain a few days previous instructs one of these shipping masters to ship so many men for his ship, to sail on such a day for such a place. Master-riggers with a gang of men having bent all the sails, examined all the rigging, replacing all the defective, you will understand this was an American ship, all hands had abandoned her, when in fact they had no right to leave until she arrived at some designated port in the United States. When men are not properly treated, they abandon their ships at the first opportunity. This was the case with the St. Lawrence. Not one left but the captain, first and second mates.
Mr. Moore I found was the name of the first mate, who had given me the card, instructing the shipping master to ship me at $10 per month, and come aboard next morning. The men received $15 per month. She was bound for New York with a general cargo and 300 Irish passengers.
Captain Brown I found in the morning, a perfect gentleman, looked more like a clergyman than a sea captain. He took me to the cabin and talked very kind with me, inquiring about my nativity, relatives, etc. He seemed to be well pleased with me, instructing me to come to him if I should want anything during the voyage. He asked me to take care of the cabin until he could engage a steward, and gave me perfect liberty to make the cabin my home should he get a rough crew – he knew not what kind of men the crew would turn out to be, for he had never seen one of them. I thanked him very much, but stated that I would like to be with the men as much as possible, that I went to sea not of necessity, but to learn to become a seaman. He commended my resolution and promised to assist me in my endeavors.
In three days after this ship was ready for sea, and the crew came on board as well as the passengers. We went out of the Princess Dock and dropped anchor in the Mersey. Next morning the captain came on board, ordered the anchor to be raised and sails set loose. I loosed the three sails on the royal masts, by order of the mate, for he had learned, he said, I was an expert with these light sails. Most of the men were heaving up the anchor. When I came down the rigging, I took hold of the long leaver, for she had what was then called patent windlass – two long levers working up and by 15 or 20 men. When I took hold of the lever the next man to me was a splendid, fine looking man. His bronzed face indicated he had seen service in the tropics. This was the first time I had ever seen him, but he struck me as an ideal seaman, such as I would like to pattern after. He wore a red flannel shirt, white duck pants and a jaunty straw Manila hat on his head. He smiled on me as I took hold of the leaver by his side. I was glad to be noticed by such a powerful and perfect man as I considered him to be. Whilst I was doting on him the mate came along with loud curses on his lips, telling the men that they were not half heaving; passing along after abusing nearly all the men, he came to where I was. He was rolling up his shirt sleeves, for he had taken off his coat before. He roared out, “you man, with the red shirt, why don’t you heave?” This shipmate, for I was glad to call him such, answered he was doing his duty. At this the mate jumped about with his clenched fist, saying he was the first man he would commence on when we got under way. The man with the red shirt paid no attention to his threats, only he turned to me and thanked the mate for this timely warning, so that he could be on his guard. After the mate had left, he smiled on me and said, “if I am the first he is going to pick on, he will have a tough chicken to pick.” Thus we left Liverpool with fair wind and all sails set.
The first thing when a ship is well underway is to divide the crew into two watches, when all the men are assembled on the quarterdeck. Thus we were all ordered to come aft, and the division was made, by the captain having the first choice, named the man at the wheel. The mate then selected the man whom he called “the man with the red shirt.” Then the captain made another choice, then the mate, and so on until whole crew were selected, and the watches formed. On this particular occasion the men were all selected, the mate had to take me, for I was the last. I was glad that the man with the red shirt was on the same watch with myself. I had taken a great liking to him and he also to me. We were strangers to one another. I had never seen one of them before. However, that night, when on watch, I learned from my newly made friend, the man wearing the red shirt, was a countryman of mine, who lived in a small seaport only twelve miles from my home. He also informed me there were two other men on board from the same place, one of whom was on our watch. He stated they always sailed on the same ship – they had been together in the English and American Navies, and had been together for many years in vessels of both nations. I was glad to learn I had countrymen on board, the first I had since I went to sea. The name of my friend with the red shirt was Jack Thomas, the other in our watch was named Dick Lewis, and the one in the captain’s watch was named John Evans. There was another young man in our watch that I had taken a liking to. He was a native of New York City, named Wm. McFarlane, whom we called Yankee Bill. All this crew were more intelligent than the common run picked up in foreign ports.
After a few days out from Liverpool we had very high winds and disagreeable weather. The sea was very rough. The poor passengers were very sick and suffered much. The captain had appointed me store keeper to deal out water and provisions to the emigrants. At that time steerage passengers in sailing vessels had so much water and provisions dealt out to them daily. At night I had to stand watch like the balance of the crew. It is the custom on all ships to wash the decks every morning at six o’clock, whether they need washing or not. On the third or forth morning out of Liverpool, the weather was very stormy and the sea running high. Buckets, scrubbing brushes, brooms, etc., were brought out for that purpose, when the mate came forward and ordered Yankee Bill to go out on the fore poop deck to wash to pump water to wash decks. We had a small hand pump, such as is used in cisterns, for that purpose, on the larboard bow. The wind was blowing almost a gale on that side, and sea splashing over continuously. The men all wondered at the mate giving such an order, when water was plentiful on deck. Bill told him he could furnish all the water required from lee-scuppers, as the water was almost knee deep as the ship careened over. This would not satisfy the mate. Bill dipped up water in buckets as fast as required. The mate became boiling mad because his orders were disobeyed. He walked back to the stern of the ship and took an iron belaying pin out of the rail. These pins were used where very heavy weight is to be sustained, otherwise wooden pins are to be used. These iron pins are about a foot in length and one and a quarter inches in diameter. With one of these pins in his hand he rushed to where Bill was filling water buckets. He aimed a full blow with this weapon on Bill’s head, but the ship plunged at the moment and he only received a light blow on the side of his head. Bill was bleeding profusely. At that moment Jack Thomas came like a flash of lightening, grasping the iron bolt from the mate’s hand and threw it overboard, telling Bill he was a better man than Mr. Moore, to settle his grievance there and then, and he would see no one should interfere. By this time Bill had the mate more than a foot of water with his foot on his neck. The ship was rolling and plunging, the water rushing backward and forward, so that occasionally Mr. Moore could see about him. He saw and begged me to call the captain, for I was an eye witness to the whole transaction.
The cooks gally was close by. The cook, a large negro hailing from Sierra Leone, a British West African Colony, rushed out of the galley with a large carving knife in his hand, to the assistance of the mate. Dick Lewis, who had come on the scene, saw the negro rushing into the fray, gave him such a blow under the ear, that he also fell in the water by the side of the mate, while Dick Lewis disarmed him of the knife, throwing it overboard.
They did not mutilate the two prostrate me, but made them swallow their fill of salt water. At this time I thought it my duty to call up the captain and the second mate, who were asleep in the cabin, informing captain Brown the men were killing Mr. Moore. He hurriedly slipped on his pants, boots, and coat, rushing on deck with a cutlass in his right hand (a short sword about a foot and a half long) and a book containing the riot act in the other. By the time he came on deck the men had released the half drowned bullies. Mr. Moore, like a drowned rat, went to his room to put on dry clothes. The negro went to the gally, where he barricaded himself, swearing he would scald the first man who came there.
The captain instructed me to tell the first watch to come on the quarterdeck. All the men came cheerfully. The first thing the captain did was to read the riot act, from the book he brought with him from the cabin, whilst I held his cutlass. After this reading he commenced to examine witnesses to get at the origin of the riot. Jack Tomas was the first witness to the whole affair. While he was explaining the mate’s actions, gentlemanly and cool, Mr. Moore leaped on deck, passing the captain and myself, who were standing before the men, pulled out a heavy claw hammer from under his coat-tail, and made a desperate attempt to strike Jack Thomas in the head with the hammer. Dick Lewis, who stood by the side of his friend, saw the mate’s movements, jumped to the front of him, receiving quite a cut on his head. In less time than it takes to write this, Jack Thomas knocked him down. Whilst both him and Dick Lewis, who was bleeding, took the cutlass from me and threw it overboard, together with the hammer taken from the mate. After this the men carried Mr. Moore to the cabin and placed him in bed.
Here were men well formed by nature
In deadly combat for their rights;
The elements above and the waters below,
Protesting against these unholy fights.
The men after this went forward to consult the other watch, which was called yup for breakfast, who knew nothing of what had taken place during the morning watch.
After learning all that had taken place, and fully argued among themselves, they came to the conclusion to send word to the captain, through me, for I was the only confidant both sides had, and to tell the truth I had seen the whole trouble, besides hearing Mr. Moore’s threat while hoisting anchor at Liverpool, that the whole affair rested on his shoulders, and that he received nothing more than he deserved.
The decision of the men of both watches was that the mate should be put out of commission, that the captain could find a man among the crew fully as able as Mr. Moore, to take his place until we arrived at New York, and if they violated any law they were willing the courts to decide.
Receiving this message, I went to the cabin, to tell him the decision of both watches. He tried hard to pump out of me if Jack Thomas and Dick Lewis were not the leaders, and that they were bad men. I told him what Mr. Moore had said and threatened the first time he ever saw them when hoisting anchor in the river Mersey. I told him also that the two men he mentioned were gentlemen in every sense of the word, and by what I had seen of them, they had a perfect right to defend themselves as they did, and if they did not, I would consider them craven cowards, that all this unfortunate affair was entirely the work of Mr. Moore.
He sent the second mate on deck to take charge of the ship, and told me after breakfast to come to him, so that I could carry his decision to the men. After breakfast the men waited to know what to do, and I went to find out what the captain had decided on. He inquired of me which of the men I thought the most capable for the position of mate, for he had seen very little of them. I told him that I had never seen a single one of them in my life before they came on board his ship, and it was not right for me, a mere boy, to give advice to a man of his mature age, but if he would allow me to give my opinion, – if it had not been for the unfortunate occurrence that had happened, Jack Thomas or Dick Lewis could have filled the position with honor, but since neither of the two could be considered, there was a man in his watch that I thought well suited to take the place. He is of a mature age, a sailor every inch of him, had the appearance of having seen much service. He is of course in your watch, but you should take one from the mate’s watch, to keep the division even. If you want my advice, I have but formed little friendship with the crew thus far, I would appoint Mr. Mitchell, second mate, to be first mate, in place of Mr. Moore, and take a man from your own watch for the place of second mate, who will always be under your eye. That man, I opine, you already have in your mind – it is old John Evans, the oldest and one of the most able among your crew.
The captain seemed surprised at the able advice given him by a person of my age. He, however, seemed to be pleased with my logic. He considered for a moment and then told me he would like to speak with John Evans. In passing out of the cabin I had to pass Mr. Moore’s room, and saw that he had been listening to our conversation, for the door was partly open. He had partly recovered from the terrible beating he had received. Arriving on deck I saw the men sitting on some spare spars always carried in case of accidents. They were conversing about the output, which they called “Mutiny”.
I told John Evans the captain would like to speak with him. He went down to the cabin. He was down about half an hour and arranged with the captain to work his watch while Mr. Mitchell would take Mr. Moore’s place. When this became known to the crew they were delighted, for everyone on board loved and respected old John Evans, the oldest man on board, and the one who had seen the most service on all the oceans of the world. From this out we had a pleasant voyage, but sometime very rough. We arrived in New York in four weeks, dropping anchor in the river, the captain going ashore in a boat. While in harbor at anchor two men at a time keep watch all. I was on watch from 10 to 12. In the morning it was discovered that six barrels of the cook’s grease (this grease is part of the cook’s emoluments) the brass bell on the poop deck, several ropes and light sails had disappeared during the night. No one seemed to know anything about them. Ten men had been on watch during the night, no one seemed, or pretended to know anything about them. The captain came in a tug-boat which took us to the wharf. A dozen or more boarding house runners with hacks ready to dispatch the crew with their respective baggage to their respective houses were on the dock. In less than ten minutes all the crew had abandoned the ship, and no effort was made to trace the robbery of the night before, as there were several bum-boats visiting vessels at anchor that night, likely it was sold to them more for revenge than depravity. The crew had received as they always do, a month’s wages in advance at Liverpool, therefore they had no pay coming to them. Mr. Moore did not appear on deck after he was deposed. I went ashore with the men, since the voyage was at an end, therefore not wanted. In this way I boarded for about a week, the boarding master promising me he would get a good ship in short time. I was getting tired and did not know how to pass the time away.
One fine morning sitting on a bench in Central Park, Capt. Brown came and sat by my side, asking me what made me leave his ship in the way I had. I told him it was my understanding that all crew leave when the voyage is at an end. He said he did not want me to leave, and asked if I would not like to go with him another voyage. I asked if Mr. Moore was still with him. He said he was, that Mr. Moore was a good man, but once in awhile a little hot-headed, that he would be kind to me. I told him if Mr. Moore would treat me right I would go with him another voyage. He was pleased and gave me ten dollars to pay what I owed my boarding house and bring my clothes on board. Next morning I went down to where the St. Lawrence was. I did not see anyone on board, so I took my clothes down to the forecastle, took off my best clothes and put on a working suit. Coming on deck the first person I saw was Mr. Moore. He asked me what business I had on board. I told him Capt. Brown had hired me, and asked what he had for me to do. It seemed that my presence was not agreeable to him. He walked off without saying another word. I picked up a broom and commenced sweeping the deck, seeing nothing else I could do. I went over several times, thinking that he could see I was only killing time. After some time thus employed, I went down the forecastle, intending to change my clothes and go ashore, for I did not deserve to be treated in this way.
After sitting down a short time thinking of how to act, I heard the voice of Captain Brown on deck giving some orders. I went up and told him I was there according to promise, what work did he want me to do. He asked me to come with him to the cabin, where he told me that he was going to take in ballast and sail for Baltimore, for he had engaged to take a cargo of tobacco to Rotterdam, Holland.. All he had for me to do was to act as watchman and take care of the cabin until the crew were shipped, when he would have a steward employed, or if I wished he would keep me as steward. I thanked him for his kind offer, but declined for the reason I stated to him before, that I went to sea for the purpose of learning to be a seaman, not a steward or sea cook. He saw my point and said I was perfectly right. For the present he hoped I would take care of the ship and gave me the keys of the state room. He said that Mr. Moore was perfectly satisfied that I would take care of the ship, which would give him more time to visit his relatives for he had many in New York. By degrees Mr. Moore and myself became friends, for the reason I never had been his enemy. When he had trouble at sea with the men, he knew it was his own fault and I told him so more than once. Because I lived with the men forward I did not consider I lived with brutes, but with men who knew their rights and were able to maintain them. We lived thus about ten days. I always showed him civilities his position entitled him to receive.
On Sunday morning, the second I had spent in New York, I walked along the wharves on East River, looking on all the large ships lying there, I spied a number of drays bringing provisions to a large, full rigged ship, according to amount, I thought she was destined for a long voyage. By inquiring I found the ship was called Columbia, bound for New Zealand on a trading which might take several years before her return. I was surprised to see my old friend John Evans in full command. He saw me and invited me to come on board. I found by him that through the influence of some captains he had sailed with before, he got the position of chief mate, that Jack Thomas was second mate, Dick Lewis, boatswain, their newly made friend, Yankee Bill, was with them before the mast. In remarking what strange coincidence that they should be together again on the same ship, old John Evans, who had been with them for many years, said he could not go without them, they were as worthy as any men who ever trod a ship’s deck, and as true as steel. I saw the whole four in prime health and spirits. Jack Thomas jokingly remarked to old John Evans that he should share the extra pay he got from the St. Lawrence as mate, with me, for it was me who got him the position. The old man put his hand in his pocket and handed me a ten dollar gold piece, which he insisted on me to take. I was never more glad than to see those men on a good ship, but in all probability, would never see them again. The ship soon after cleared the harbor with fair wind and all sails set. I made up my mind never to mention their names when Mr. Moore was present.
In the course of ten days we shipped a new crew at New York for a run to Baltimore. These men were all foreigners, Sweeds, Danes, Norwegians, and all from the northern part of Europe. There was not an American or Englishman among the crew. The weather was stormy and the passage rough. Mr. Moore as usual finding there was not an Englishman nor an American among the crew, commenced his brutality on them as he had done before. I felt sorry for them but knowing they came from military empires, where a poor man has no right to protest against their superiors. However the poor fellows were glad to reach land, for they had only shipped for the run from New York to Baltimore.
Having discharged ballast and taken on a cargo of tobacco for Rotterdam, Holland, we shipped another crew, a duplicate of the last, Mr. Moore had a lively time kicking and knocking these men to his entire satisfaction. I was treated humanely, and as these men had no spirit to defend themselves I had nothing to do but pity them. It took us two months to reach Rotterdam. As usual the men all deserted, leaving a months wages behind. I was pleased to find that some of the men were acquainted here, who went to an old Jew merchant and made arrangements with him to pawn all their wages, half cash and half clothing, this accomplished they all deserted. In a few days the old merchant came down to the captain with the bills, which he refused t pay because they had deserted. The old fellow did not seem to care much for this refusal, but smiled and took considerable snuff.
This vessel made considerable money by making it untenable for the men to stand the abuse. We had shipped in Baltimore two Chinamen, one for cook the other steward. They were fine, quiet, gentlemanly and remarkably clean, understanding their business thoroughly. The mate found they were packing up to leave, had them put in irons and fastened to the ringbolts below decks, for he did not want them to leave as they were experts at their business. They called me to the cabin to act as steward while we remained at Rotterdam. I had these two men to wait on as well as the officers. The second mate acted as cook. The first opportunity I had, my resolution was put in force. I went straight to the American Consul and told him there were two American citizens, for such they had become on board the American ship St. Lawrence in irons. He told me very surely he would see to it. The next day he came down in his carriage, and arm in arm with Captain Brown, went down to the cabin, drank a bottle of champagne, then both came on deck, the captain taking him to his carriage, and shook hands very cordially. In an hour or two the Chinamen were released. The first opportunity they had (the mate having gone ashore on business) they left the ship, thanking me, for they suspected I had been the cause of their release, and said I could have all their effects left behind, consisting of fine clothing, hair mattress and fine blankets to the value of $200. In a couple of weeks we had unloaded our cargo and taken in ballast for Liverpool. A new crew had been shipped, something of the same character as the last. Just as we were ready to cast off two officers came on board and told us not to touch the cables with which the ship was fastened. They told the captain that the Jew merchant had got a judgment against the ship for the sailors wages which had to be paid before we could leave. Nothing could be done but pay the judgment with costs. Captain Brown told me, for I was the only confidant all hands had, that it was preposterous to make him pay when the men were deserters. I reminded him that when in Venice we had to comply with the laws of Venice. We were delayed a long time in a canal coming out of Rotterdam on account of stormy weather and head winds. We made a long voyage to Liverpool, but when we reached there, the crew, as usual, deserted. I could not leave for I had too much wages coming to me. They treated me kindly, and all I had to do was act as watchman. I was allowed to board with a friend, and night watchman hired. No fires are allowed in Liverpool docks, consequently everyone has to board ashore.
Here we found a cargo of general merchandise for New York, and I made up my mind to leave when we reached there, as my voyage would expire then. The crew we got here were but little better than the last two or three we had run across, for we had few Americans and Englishmen among them. We did not have such men as Jack Thomas, Dick Lewis and John Evans, who dared to do right in any position they were placed. Mr. Moore had many of these men under his thumb. We had a long and stormy voyage. Our masts were sprung, so that we could carry but little canvas. Provisions and water giving out rapidly. Many vessels spoke us and offered. We refused every offer. The mate getting uglier daily. I was determined to make some effort to get better treatment. I spoke with several of the men that we should go boldly and inquire of the captain the reason for refusing assistance when offered, and we on short allowance. I could get no one to go with me, but went alone. Captain Brown had always been my friend, and was not averse to speak with me on the subject. He stated the reason he refused assistance was that we had been long on the passage and the voyage had been disastrous to the owners financially. He asked me to inform the men that if the wind continued in the same direction it was in for two days longer we would be in Charleston, S.C., for we had already passed the stormy Cape Hatteras, that in the condition the masts were in he had to run in the direction the wind blew. We had sailed more than one thousand miles beyond our destination – New York, he begged the sympathy of the men in his unhappy condition. He thanked me for acting as medium between him and the crew.
I went forward where the men were waiting the result of my visit. I passed Mr. Moore on the way. He looked daggers at me but said nothing. I explained to the men what the captain informed me, with a great deal of sympathy in my words. All were glad to know were we were, but were surprised that we were near Charleston in place of New York. They all agreed to take things as they were, for a few days at least, hoping soon to be ashore. That evening when our watch was on deck from eight to twelve o’clock, Mr. Moore came forward and ordered me to fore top sail yard to keep lookout for land. Thinking nothing wrong, as this is always a rule when nearing land at night. I felt very sleepy and fearing to fall asleep I tied myself to the halliards so I could not fall off, finding a gasket on the yard for that purpose. I had been there about two hours and thought it was near twelve o’clock when the watches changed, and a man come to relieve me. All at once the yard went down without notice given, and came down with a thud. It was well I had the foresight to lash myself to the halliards and went down with it, as the sudden jar would sure throw me overboard. When I came down on the deck the bell struck eight bells and the watch relieved. Mr. Moore was jumping about the deck saying he would kill the man who let go of the top sail halyards if he knew who he was. I said nothing, but suspicioned it was him who was guilty.
Next day in the forenoon watch he came to me, said he thought next day we would be in Charleston, all the hands were busy cleaning the paint work as was the custom. He ordered me to get a pail of water and ashes and scrub the martingale. I knew this was a risky job with the swell that was then in the sea. This martingale reached within five or six feet of the water and when the ship plunged it often dipped. The voyage was then so near up that I did not wish to disobey my superior officer, willingly went at it. The vessel often plunging until my feet was in the water, and dozens of dog fishes, a species of shark, trying to get at them. Little scrubbing was done by me and glad to hear the sound of the eight bells, when I came up on deck and the other watch coming on duty. I pretended to be cheerful, but my mind was far from being so. That evening we sighted land, and the next forenoon we landed at one of the wharves of Charleston, S.C. having been ninety days out from Liverpool. The captain soon went ashore.
I was glad this unpleasant voyage was at an end. As soon as the vessel was fastened I went down to the forecastle to change and pack up my clothes and go ashore. Mr. Moore came to the companionway and said that the Captain wanted me to came and take care of the cabin, for the sheriff had taken the cook and steward to jail during the vessel’s stay in port. This was the law then, when slavery was in full force, and half the city’s population being slaves, free negroes talked too much politics to the slaves therefore, would have no access to them. He told me the ship had to have new masts and rigging, which would consume about seven or eight weeks, the captain was going to New York, there would be only him, second mate, and myself in the cabin, and the captain had gone ashore to find a negro woman for cook and my work would be light. I told him this was the opportunity I had been looking for, that I could help and learn to rig a ship and that it would be a school for me. He would not listen to this philosophy, but must come to the cabin. I told him plainly that I could not think of it, as it had come to this my voyage was up, and I was going ashore. He said I could be arrested as a deserter. I then stated I had signed articles in New York to go from there to Baltimore, from there to Rotterdam, from there to Liverpool then to any port in the United States and thought I was now in a port of the United States and my voyage at an end. He went back to the cabin, got the articles, but I discovered and told him that those were the articles signed by the present crew to go from Liverpool to New York. I agreed with him that the voyage of these men was not up until they reached New York. Finding he could do nothing with me he walked off with curses on his lips, I walked ashore.
My first inquiries was for the Mayor’s office, and after walking quite a number of streets found the Mayor at his office in the court house. This was the same Mayor Brown, who a year after, sent to Liverpool for me as witness in a state case which I described in a story written to the News last Christmas. I explained to the Mayor that I wanted to part with my ship, and gave him my reasons for doing so, and whether I could collect the wages due me. He said the St. Lawrence was in the hands of the Underwriters, that the captain or owners had nothing to say until she was thoroughly repaired and ready for sea. I then asked the status of the men who shipped from Liverpool to New York. He answered that their voyages was also up as well as my own.
After I learned this I hired a spring wagon and went down after my clothing. I also informed the men of the result of my inquiry. Every man quit work and followed me up to town. We had not gone more than a quarter of a mile when the second mate overtook us and said the captain had sent him to inform us to come down next morning he would pay us all off. This was a jolly night for the crew of the St. Lawrence. All happy it terminated as it did.
Next morning we all went down on board the ship and settled with the captain satisfactory. I was the last and expected a good lesson for the part I had played, but the captain did not mention a word on what had passed. He had given me money on several occasions. I had kept an account of all sums I had received and told him the amount. He said, “never mind, that was my gift and not charged to you.” We shook hands on parting. He hoped I would prosper as I deserved.
In a few days the hands had scattered on different vessels and different destination. I found employment in a cotton press, where I often met Captain Brown. One day sitting down in the office he told me his ship repairs would soon be completed and asked me if I would go with him to Liverpool, as the ship was loaded with cotton and the riggers had nearly completed their work, another vessel had taken his freight to New York. I told him I would be glad to sail with him, but as long as Mr. Moore was on her I would not set a foot on the deck, not because I feared him physically, but feared his treachery. I told how he tried to throw me overboard from the topsail-yard and the way he sent me to scrub the martingale, hoping no doubt that sharks would get hold of me. Captain Brown was horrified at such villainy. He told me the reason for his being mate that he and his friends in New York were in New York were nine-sixteenths parts of the ship, while he and his friends owned but seven-sixteenths parts (you will understand that a ship is divided into sixteen parts or ounces as they are called, so that one man may own hundreds of ounces in different ships without owning a whole one.) The captain told me that he had tried many times to sell his interest but ship owners were so well acquainted with Mr. Moore, that they would not buy as long as Mr. Moore and his friends owned controlling interest. He also told me that the friends of Mr. Moore did not want to elevate him as captain. After hearing this I told him that as poor as I was I would not change positions with him. With this he left the office, parting as friends.
To finish this story I must tell what happened a few years after, when working on a weekly newspaper in a small town on the west of England – a watering resort. Many of the aristocracy living in the neighborhood, having parks and gardens extending down to the seashore, with sailing yachts anchored before their doors. With these they go on pleasure excursions often during fine weather in summer. They generally keep an old seaman by the year to take care of and the sail the small crafts. In summer they have regattas at the different water resorts, and set time to run at the different circuits. The editor of the paper on which I worked went around to report the incidents of the races. He asked me to go with him in his buggy, there was an exciting race to take place next day about fifteen miles from our town. Arriving there the little town was in its holiday attire, the yachtsmen in uniforms were the lions of the day. The morning turned out fine, but the wind blowed hard and the sea was rough for the small crafts that were there to test their valor. The course to run was about twenty miles. A ship was anchored at both ends which they had to go around. Twenty yachts were booked for the race. The programs were printed and held by most of the excited crowd, naming the yachts and captains of each by the flags displayed. Thousands from the surrounding country lined the shores and housetops and every avenue from which the race could be seen. At the firing of a gun they all started. The friends of each yacht straining every nerve to keep track of his favorite. The wind blew hard. Before the wind we could not judge which was making the best time. In coming back they had to beat against the wind, and here the tug of war was displayed. They had to tack more than twenty times from one side of the narrow straight to the other, for it was not more than a mile wide. One yacht would gain on the other and their positions changed often. The men on shore becoming excited and bets were changed from one craft to the other continually. In the last half hour a yacht called Arvonia and another called Dolphin seemed to gain gradually. It was a grand sight to see these small cutters ploughing through the water, carrying such large sails that they were almost on beam ends, covered literally by foam. On and on they came, changing positions often. Experts could see the Arvonia and Dolphin, though not the fastest, but better handled, stood good chance of winning. The best were high on these two boats. Sometime these boats could not be seen for the foam they made. When the Arvonia once came in sight it was with the topmast carried away. There was excitement, among those who had bet heavy on her, that can hardly be described. Just at this moment the wind freshened to about a gale. The top mast was quickly cut away, and the Arvonia, relieved of too much canvas, rushed forward like a wounded bull. She rounded the ship anchored for mark, the cannon fired as the signal, then the other slow craft Dolphin, in two seconds had the gun fired for her. The other yachts steered away and gave up the contest. That evening the people of the town gave a grand banquet to the yachtsmen. Our editor was presented with two tickets to the banquet, one for him and one for me. The mayor of the town presided at the table, with Capt. Thomas, of the yacht Arvonia, on the right and Capt. Lewis, of the Dolphin, on the left. In a neat speech he presented the first prize, a handsome gold goblet, to the gallant master of the cutter Arvonia. Capt. Thomas in a patriotic speech acknowledged the great honor done them by the hospitality of the little town. The second prize was then presented to Capt. Lewis, of the Dolphin, a miniature ship made of ivory, with rigging of gold thread. He also made a neat little speech in acknowledgment of the kindness they had received during their stay by the kind and happy of the town and surrounding country. Many others made patriotic speeches, commemorating the innocent and recreative pleasures of yachting. After the inner man had been satisfied the meeting broke up, with all present singing “Brittania Rules the Waves”.
In breaking up all the present took the two gallant captains by the hand, with great praise for the manner of handling their crafts.
I was considerably excited and waited till the last, when I took those two gallant tars by the hand, never having given a thought until I heard their voices that they were my shipmates on the ship St. Lawrence. Jack Thomas and Dick Lewis. I spent the next day with them on their yachts, for they were as glad to see me as I was to see them.
To end this story. They told me that when I saw them leaving New York, on the ship Columbia, they went to New Zealand and traded in the Orient about three years: that our old friend John Evans had died with cholera at Calcutta; that Yankee Bill had fell from the yard arm off Cape of Good Hope, and lost: that they were both married and settled down at their old home and lived comfortable and both were happy.
Peace to their ashes is the tribute of an old shipmate who has also retired from the hardships seen at sea.
Dear friends I’ll keep your memory green.
You were men when I was sweet sixteen:
No doubt you’ve paid the debt of nature.
Like gallant chiefs at last surrender.
L. E. Jones, Senior
St. James, Nebraska, January 1, 1901.