Franklin and I stood near together on the navy list At the parting of our ways his lead to high honors, to the commander of ships and fleets and the companionship of kings and potentates and grandees both native and foreign. Mine led to insignificance and the companionship of mule drivers, tanners, ferrymen and brick makers. Sure I am that he and I have one thing in common, and that is a clear conscience. The great honors might have been mine, too, but in heart I should have known myself to be a poltroon. I have never for a moment regretted taking the course I did take. I thought I did right at the time; I know I did right now. In the spring of 1843 I sailed from Norfolk in the Brandywipe with the corvette St. Louis in company bound to the East Indies, the squadron commanded by Commodore Foxhall A. Parker. The cruise of the Brandywine was an ideal one. It was the opinion of all officers, old and young, and of the men, old and young, whom I met in after life, that a happier and a better representation ship of the American navy never floated. First our commander-in-chief, a Virginia gentleman of the old school with a distinguished ancestry. Courtly but always gentle and simple in manner and remarkably handsome in person, he was beloved by all who knew him. Then the lieutenant, Charley Chauncey, the executive officer, thorough seaman, great on organization and discipline. He went in the dinghey every day when the ship was in port to pull around her to see that she was free from spot or blemish on the outside. Inboard no yacht was ever neater or more presentable. Commodore Parker has a fatherly interest in the midshipmen and everything in his power to make us comfortable and to help in the making of us good men and officers. Every fine night at sea he would have the band on deck to make music for us to dance by, and often we would be joined by the older officers of the ship in our waltzes and quadrilles. We were to be joined at Bombay by Caleb Cushing, whom we were to take to China, the first American diplomat sent to that country. We had with us a number of attaches, etc., belonging to the mission. Among the attaches was Dr. E. K. Kane, afterwards the Arctic hero.
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