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. of discipline, and know they must submit to its restraints, and render prompt obedience to orders from their superiors, without question ; yet few of them are so deeply imbued with the meek spirit of Christianity as to forego remonstrance to injustice or resistance to tyranny.
The Packet proved to be a fast-sailing ship. The log often indicated ten, eleven, and eleven and a half knots. We had a quick but rough passage across the Atlantic, and frequently took on board a much larger quantity of salt water than was agreeable to those who had berths in her bows. In four days after leaving Boston we reached the Banks of Newfoundland; in eighteen days, we struck soundings off Cape Clear; and in twenty-one days, let go our anchor in the River Mersey.
THE day succeeding our arrival at Liverpool, having disposed of our gunpowder, we hauled into King's Dock, and commenced preparations for receiving the remainder of our cargo. At that period there were only four floating docks in Liverpool. The town was not in a prosperous condition. It had not recovered from the shock caused by the abolition of the slave trade. That inhuman traffic had been carried on to a very great extent for many years by Liverpool merchants, and, of course, the law prohibiting the traffic - a law wise and humane in itself, but injurious to the interests of individuals resisted in Parliament by all the commercial wealth of Liverpool and Bristol, the two principal ports in which the merchants resided who were engaged in the slave
traffic. Even in 1811, many fine ships were lying idle in the docks, which had been built expressly for that business; and their grated air-ports, high and solid bulwarks, peculiar hatchways, large and unsightly poops, all gave evidence of the expensive arrangements and great importance of the “Guineamen” of those days.
It was expected that our cargo would be completed immediately after our arrival at Liverpool, and the ship despatched on her way around Cape Horn; but the tobacco which we had taken on board in Boston, being an article on which an enormous duty was exacted, was the cause of trouble and delay. Consultations with the authorities in London were necessary, and weeks elapsed before Captain Bacon could get the ship out of the clutches of the revenue department. In the mean time the crew remained by the ship, but took their meals at a boarding house on shore, as was the custom in Liverpool. They were all furnished with American protections; but some of them, unwilling to rely on the protecting power of a paper document, which in their cases told a tale of fiction, adopted various expedients to avoid the pressgangs which occasionally thridded the streets, and even entered dwellings when the doors were unfastened, to capture sailors and compel them to volunteer to serve their king and country.
One of these unfortunate men, after having successfully dodged the pressgangs for a fortnight, and living meanwhile in an unenviable state of anxiety, was pounced upon by some disguised members of a pressgang as he left the boarding house one evening. He struggled hard to escape, but was knocked down and dragged off to the naval rendezvous. He was examined the next morning before the American consul, but, notwithstanding his protection, his citizenship could not be substantiated. He was in reality a Prussian, and of course detained as a lawful prize. The poor fellow lamented his hard destiny
with tears. He knew the degrading and unhappy character of the slavery to which he was doomed probably for life, and strongly implored Captain Bacon to leave no means untried to procure his release ; but the captain's efforts were in vain.
I was rejoiced when intelligence came that the trouble about the tobacco was at an end, and the remainder of the cargo could be taken on board. On the following forenoon the ship was hauled stern on to the quay, and the heavy bales of goods, when brought down, were tumbled on deck by the crew and rolled along to the main hatchway. I was employed with one of my shipmates in this work, when some clumsy fellows who were handling another bale behind me pitched it over in such a careless manner that it struck my left leg, which it doubled up like a rattan. I felt that my leg was fractured, indeed, I heard the bone snap,
and threw myself on a gun carriage, making wry faces in consequence of the pain I suffered.
“Are you much hurt, Hawser?” inquired the chief mate, in a tone of irony, and with a grim smile.
“Yes, sir; badly hurt. I'm afraid my leg is broken.”
“Not so bad as that, I hope," exclaimed Stetson, with some display of anxiety. "I guess you are more frightened than hurt. Let me look at your leg."
He found my surmises were correct, and expressed more sympathy for my misfortune than I could have expected. I was carried into the cabin, and after a short delay conveyed in a carriage to the Infirmary or hospital. When the carriage reached the gateway of the Infirmary, the bell was rung by the coachman, and the porter made his appearance.
He was a tall, hard-featured, sulkylooking man, about fifty years of age, called Thomas; and having held that office a number of years, he assumed as many airs, and pretended to as much surgical skill, as the professors.
What's the matter now?” inquired the porter, with a discontented growl.
“ An accident," replied the coachman. “This boy has broken his leg. He is a sailor, belonging to an American ship.”
“Ah, ha! an American, is he?” added Thomas, with a diabolical sneer. “ A Yankee Doodle! Never mind; we'll take care of him."
I was lifted from the carriage and carried by the ship's armorer, very gently, into one of the rooms, the grimlooking porter leading the way. I was placed in an arm chair, and, as the surgeon whose duty it was to attend to accidents on that day was not immediately forthcoming, the porter undertook to examine the fracture. He proceeded to take off the stocking, which fitted rather closely, and the removal of which gave me intolerable pain. I begged him to rip off the garment with a knife, and put an end to my torments. The armorer also remonstrated against his unnecessary cruelty, but in vain. The only reply of the grumbling rascal was that the stocking was too good to be destroyed, and he never knew a Yankee who could bear pain like a man! He then began, in a cool and business-like manner, to twist my foot about, grinding the fractured bones together to ascertain, as he said, whether the limb was actually broken! and I verily believe that my complaints and groans, which I did not attempt to suppress, were sweet music in his ears. It was clear to me that, for some reason which I could never learn, Mr. Thomas owed the whole Yankee nation a grudge, and was ready to pay it off on an individual whenever he could get a chance.
After he had finished his examination, I looked around the room, which was not a large one. It was number one of the “ accident ward." It contained six beds, besides a pallet in a corner for the nurse of the ward. These beds, with two exceptions, were occupied by unfortunate beings
like myself. As I was brought in among them they gazed upon me earnestly, prompted, I verily believe, not only by curiosity, but commiseration for my unhappy condition. The surgeon made his appearance, and succeeded, without much difficulty, in setting the limb, – an operation which, acknowledging its necessity, I bore with becoming fortitude. I was placed on my back in one of the unoccupied beds, with the rather unnecessary caution to lie perfectly still. The armorer returned to the ship, and I was left among strangers.
I now had leisure to reflect on my situation. My hopes of visiting the “north-west coast” were suddenly destroyed. A cripple, in a strange land, without money or friends, a cloud seemed to rest on my prospects. During the remainder of the day and the succeeding night I suffered much from “the blues.” My spirits were out of tune. The scanty hospital fare that was offered me I sent away untouched, and sleep refused to bury my senses in forgetfulness until long after the midnight hour. This, however, might have been partly owing to the involuntary groans and murmurs of unfortunate sufferers in my immediate vicinity. That first day and night wore a sombre aspect, and teemed with gloomy forebodings.
In the morning I fell into a kind of doze, and dreamed that I was walking in a beautiful meadow, which was traversed by a wide and deep ditch. Wishing to pass to the other side I attempted to leap the ditch, but jumped short, and buried myself in mud and mire to the waist! I awoke with a start, which I accompanied with a cry of distress. I had moved the broken limb, and furnished more work for the surgeon and suffering for myself.
My gloomy reflections and disquietude of mind did not last long. In the morning my attention was attracted by the novelties of my situation, and I found much to excite my curiosity and interest my feelings. My “fit of the blues” had passed off to return no more. I had some