previous next
[73] for strong drink was inherited by James, and likewise the disposition to follow the sea. Yet, but for the mother's poverty, we can imagine that a wise discipline might have saved him from both these pitfalls, and that he might have become a useful and respected if not an eminent citizen. He had a beautiful person, a powerful physique, a good heart, a good intellect. The little schooling that he got made him an excellent penman,1 with but slight traces of illiteracy in his compositions. These are sensible, shrewd, humorous, graphic, deeply pathetic—in particular, the autobiography which he attempted, evidently for publication as a warning against intemperance. The high spirit which was wasted in stubbornly going to the bad, in resenting injustice and imposition at the risk of wounds and death, and in enduring without a murmur the atrocities incurred in the service of his country, might have graced a martyr in a cause as noble as his brother's.

The alcoholic habit was fastened upon James Garrison at the age of fourteen, while yet a shoemakers apprentice in Lynn, owing to the custom of serving black-strap to the workmen. Once master of him, it led him, with an occasional reprieve and vain attempt to establish himself in an honest employment on land, through every degree of abasement and physical suffering—now the literal bedfellow of swine, and now the victim of all those forms of torture which made the navy of his day truly hells afloat. At twenty-two, in the British service, he was flogged2 through Admiral Rowley's fleet at Port Royal, Jamaica,3 for desertion (not without cause), receiving one hundred

1 On account of his ability to write, he was suspected of being the author of the anonymous letter protesting against the cruel practices on board the U. S. ship-of-line Delaware, in the Mediterranean in 1828 (?), mentioned on p. 112 of McNally's “ Evils and Abuses in the Naval and Merchant Service Exposed” (Boston, 1839). This suspicion was frightfully avenged upon him by the lieutenant aimed at in the letter. Some years before this, at Port Royal, Jamaica, being brought to trial for an affray with his captain, his defence of himself caused him to be styled ‘the sailor orator.’ A piece of money which he received at this time from the sympathetic supercargo, he went and gave ‘to the poor slaves in the prison’ from which he had just been released.

2 June 20, 1823.

3 Sir C. Rowley, K. C. B.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Port Royal (Jamaica) (2)
Lynn (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Delaware (Delaware, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
C. Rowley (2)
McNally (1)
James Garrison (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1839 AD (1)
1828 AD (1)
June 20th, 1823 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: