- Voyage across the Atlantic pursued -- Christmasday on board the Sumter -- Cape fly-away, and the curious illusion produced by it -- the Sumter passes from the desert parts of the sea, into a tract of commerce once more -- boards a large fleet of ships in one day, but finds no enemy among them -- arrival at Cadiz.
The punishment administered to the two delinquent sentinels mentioned in the last chapter, had the most salutary effect. Seamen are very much like children, requiring the reins to be tightened upon them from time to time. I made it a rule on board the Sumter, that punishment should follow the offence, with promptitude, and certainty, rather than severity; and this excellent rule had already performed marvels, in the matter of disciplining my ship. Sunday, December 15th.—A fine bright morning, with a moderate breeze from the north-west, and the weather just cool enough to be delightfully bracing. We mustered the crew this morning, and read the articles of war for the first time in three weeks, owing to the bad weather. I did not inspect the ship below, according to custom, the sea being still rough, and the water ankle-deep on the gun-deck in consequence. Our new prisoners always looked upon the muster ceremonies on board the Sumter, with curiosity, as though they were surprised to find so much order and discipline, and so much attention to dress and ceremony, on board the ‘pirate’ of which they had read, and whose ‘cut’ they had so often admired, in their truth-loving and truth-telling newspapers. The latitude, to-day, is 34°, and the longitude 42° 05′. We were quite surprised to find so much bad weather in  the parallel, on which we were crossing the Atlantic. I had purposely chosen this parallel, that my little cock-boat of a ship might not be knocked in pieces, by the storms of the North Atlantic, and yet the reader has seen how roughly we have been handled. Nor were the fates more propitious for the next few days. Gale followed gale, with angry skies, and cloud and rain; there sometimes being lightning around the entire horizon, with now rolling, now crashing thunder. I had intended when I left the West Indies to touch at Fayal, in the Azores, for coal and water, but I found these islands so guarded and defended, by the Genius of the storm, that it would require several days of patience and toil, to enable me to reach an anchorage in one of them. I therefore determined to pass them, and haul up for the southern coast of Spain, running finally into Cadiz. Christmas day was passed by us on the lonely sea, in as doleful a manner as can well be conceived. The weather is thus described in my journal. ‘Thermometer 63°; barometer 29.80. Heavy rain squalls—weather dirty, with lightning all around the horizon, indicating a change of wind at any moment. Under short sail during the night.’ The only other record of the day was that we ‘spliced the main brace;’ that is, gave Jack an extra glass of grog. Groups of idle sailors lay about the decks, ‘overhauling a range of their memories;’ how they had spent the last Christmas-day, in some ‘Wapping,’ or ‘Wide Water street,’ with the brimming goblet in hand, and the merry music of the dance sounding in their ears. Nor were the memories of the officers idle. They clasped in fancy their loved ones, now sad and lonely, to their bosoms once more, and listened to the prattle of the little ones they had left behind. Not the least curious of the changes that had taken place since the last Christmas day, was the change in their own official positions. They were, most of them, on that day, afloat under the ‘old flag.’ That flag now looked to them strange and foreign. They had some of their own countrymen on board; not, as of yore, as welcome visitors, but as prisoners. These, too, wore a changed aspect—enemy, instead of friend, being written upon their faces. The two ‘rival nations,’ spoken of by De Tocqueville, stood face to face. Nature is  stronger than man. She will not permit her laws to be violated with impunity, and if this war does not separate these two nations, other wars will. If we succeed in preserving the principle of State sovereignty—the only principle which can save this whole country, North and South, from utter wreck and ruin—all will be well, whatever combinations of particular States may be made, from time to time. The States being free, liberty will be saved, and they will gravitate naturally, like unto like—the Puritan clinging to the Puritan, and the Cavalier to the Cavalier. But if this principle be overthrown, if the mad idea be carried out, that all the American people must be moulded into a common mass, and form one consolidated government, under the rule of a majority—for no constitution will then restrain them—Constitutional liberty will disappear, and no man can predict the future—except in so far, that it is impossible for the Puritan, and the Cavalier to live together in peace. On the next day, we witnessed a curious natural illusion. The look-out called land ho! from the mast-head. The officer of the watch saw the land at the same time from the deck, and sent a midshipman below to inform me that we had made ‘high land, right ahead.’ I came at once upon deck, and there, sure enough, was the land — a beautiful island, with its blue mountains, its plains, its wood-lands, its coast, all perfect. It was afternoon. The weather had been stormy, but had partially cleared. The sun was near his setting, and threw his departing rays full upon the newly discovered island, hanging over it, as a symbol that, for a time, there was to be a truce with the storm, a magnificent rainbow. So beautiful was the scene, and so perfect the illusion—there being no land within a couple of hundred miles of us—that all the crew had come on deck to witness it; and there was not one of them who would not have bet a month's pay that what he looked upon was a reality. The chief engineer was standing by me looking upon the supposed landscape, with perfect rapture. Lowering the telescope through which I had been viewing it, I said to him, ‘You see, now, Mr. F., how often men are deceived. You would no doubt swear that that is land.’ ‘Why should I not,  sir?’ said he. ‘Simply,’ rejoined I, ‘because it is Cape Flyaway.’ He turned and looked at me with astonishment, as though I were quizzing him, and said, ‘You surely do not mean to say, Captain, that that is not land; it is not possible that one's senses can be so much deceived.’ ‘Like yourself, I should have sworn it was land, if I did not know, from the position of the ship, that there is no land within a couple of hundred miles of us.’ Reaching out his hand for my glass, I gave it to him, and as he viewed the island through it, I was much amused at his ejaculations of admiration, now at this beauty, and now at that. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘there is the very coast, sand beach and all, with beautiful bays and indentations, as though inviting the Sumter to run in and anchor.’ As the sun sank lower and lower, withdrawing now one ray, and now another, first the rainbow began to disappear, and then the lower strata of the island to grow a little gray, and then the upper, until, as the sun dipped, the whole gorgeous fabric, of mountain, woodland, plain, and coast, was converted into a leaden-colored cloud-bank. The engineer handing me my glass, said, ‘Captain, I will be a cautious witness hereafter, in a court of justice, when I am questioned as to a fact, which has only been revealed to me through a single sense.’ ‘I see,’ I replied, ‘that you are becoming a philosopher. Many metaphysicians have maintained that all nature is a mere phantasmagoria, so far as our senses are capable of informing us.’ For the last two weeks, we had been crossing a desert tract of the ocean, where a sail is seldom seen. We now began to approach one of the beaten highways, over which a constant stream of travel is passing—the road leading from the various ports of Europe to the equator and the coast of Brazil, and thence east and west, as may be the destination of the wayfarer. December 28th.—A fine, bright day, with the wind light from the south-west. At daylight, ‘Sail ho!’ came ringing from the mast-head. The sail crossing our bows, we took in our studding-sails, hauled up south-east, to intercept her, and got up steam. Our latitude being 35° 17′, and longitude 20° 53′, we were within striking distance of Cadiz or Gibraltar, and could afford now to use a little steam. The chase did  not reward us, however, as she proved to be English—being the ship Richibucto, from Liverpool, for Vera Cruz, laden with salt. We received from her some English newspapers, which gave us several items of interesting intelligence. All England was in mourning for the death of Prince Albert. The Trent affair was causing great excitement, and the Confederate States steamer Nashville, Captain Pegram, had arrived at Southampton, having burned a large Yankee ship, the Harvey Birch. This ship having been burned in the English Channel, much attention was attracted to the act; especially as the ship was tea-laden, and supposed to be worth near half a million of dollars. The next day was rainy, with a light wind from the southeast. Only two sails were seen, and to neither of them did we give chase; but on the morning of the 30th of December, we fell in with a perfect stream of ships. ‘Sail ho!’ was shouted at daylight from the mast-head, and repeated at short intervals, until as many as twenty-five were reported. We at once got up steam, and commenced chasing; but though we chased diligently, one ship after another, from eight o'clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, we did not overhaul a single ship of the enemy I We actually boarded sixteen sail, a number of others showing us their colors. The ships boarded were of the following nationalities:—Four Dutch, seven English, two French, one Swedish, one Prussian, one Hamburg. Here was quite a representation of the nations of Europe, and I amused myself taking the vote of these ships, according to our American fashion, upon the war. Their sentiments were elicited as follows:—I would first show them the United States colors, pretending to be a Federal cruiser; I would then haul down these colors, and show them the Confederate flag. The result was that but one ship—the Prussian—saluted the United States flag, and that all the other ships, with one or two exceptions, saluted the Confederate States flag. We were then beating the enemy, and the nations of the earth were worshipping success. So large a fleet of ships—not being a convoy—so far out at sea, was quite a curiosity, and may serve to show the landsman how accurately we have mapped out, upon the ocean, the  principal highways of commerce. There were no mile-posts on the road these ships were travelling, it is true, but the road was none the less ‘blazed’ out, for all that—the blazes being on the wind and current charts. The night succeeding this busy day set in cloudy and ugly, with a fresh breeze blowing from the eastward; and so continuous was the stream of ships, all sailing in the contrary direction from ourselves, that we had serious apprehensions of being run over. To guard against this, we set our side-lights, and stationed extra lookouts. Several ships passed us during the night, hurrying forward on the wings of the wind, at a rapid rate, and sometimes coming so close, in the darkness, as almost to make one's hair stand on end. The next morning the weather became clear and beautiful, and the stream of ships had ceased. The reader may be curious to know the explanation of this current of ships. It is simple enough. They were all Mediterranean ships. At the strait of Gibraltar there is a constant current setting into the Mediterranean. This current is of considerable strength, and the consequence is, that when the wind also sets into the strait—that is to say, when it is from the westward—it is impossible for a sailing-ship to get out of the strait into the Atlantic. She is obliged to come to anchor in the bay of Gibraltar, and wait for a change of wind. This is sometimes a long time in coming—the westerly winds continuing here, not unfrequently, two and three weeks at a time. As a matter of course, a large number of ships collect in the bay, waiting for an opportunity of exit. I have seen as many as a hundred sail at one time. In a few hours after a change of wind takes place, this immense fleet will all be under way, and such of them as are bound to the equator and the coast of Brazil, the United States, West Indies, and South America, will be found travelling the blazed road of which I have spoken; some taking the forks of the road, at their respective branching-off places, and others keeping the main track to the equator. Hence the exodus the reader has witnessed. Perhaps the reader needs another explanation—how it was, that amid all that fleet of ships, there was not one Yankee. This explanation is almost as easy as the other. Commerce  is a sensitive plant, and at the rude touch of war it had contracted its branches. The enemy was fast losing his Mediterranean trade, under the operation of high premiums for war risks. We began now to observe a notable change in the weather, as affected by the winds. Along the entire length of the American coast, the clear winds are the west winds, the rainwinds being the east winds. Here the rule is reversed; the west winds bringing us rains, and the east winds clear weather. The reason is quite obvious. The east winds, sweeping over the continent of Europe, have nearly all of their moisture wrung out of them before they reach the sea; hence the dryness of these winds, when they salute the mariner cruising along the European coasts. Starting now from the European seas as dry winds, they traverse a large extent of water before they reach the coasts of the United States. During the whole of this travel, these thirsty winds are drinking their fill from the sea, and by the time they reach Portland or Boston, they are heavily laden with moisture, which they now begin to let down again upon the land. Hence, those long, gloomy, rainy, rheumatic, easterly storms, that prevail along our coast in the fall and winter months. The reader has now only to take up the west wind, as it leaves the Pacific Ocean, as a wet wind, and follow it across the American continent, and see how dry the mountains wring it before it reaches the Atlantic, to see why it should bring us fair weather. The change was very curious to us at first, until we became a little used to it. Another change was quite remarkable, and that was the great difference in temperature which we experienced with reference to latitude. Here we were, in midwinter, or near it, off the south coast of Spain, in latitude 36°, nearly that of Cape Henry at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, and unless the weather was wet, we had not felt the necessity of a pea-jacket. Whence this difference? The cause, or causes, whatever they are, must, of course, be local; for other things being equal, the heat should be the same, on the same parallel of latitude; all around the globe which we inhabit. Captain Matthew F. Maury, of the late Confederate States' Navy, to whom all nations accord, as by common consent, the title of Philosopher  of the Seas, accounts for this difference of temperature in the following manner:
Modern ingenuity has suggested a beautiful mode of warming houses in winter. It is done by means of hot water. The furnace and the caldron are sometimes placed at a distance from the apartment to be warmed. It is so at the Observatory. In this case, pipes are used to conduct the heated water from the caldron under the Superintendent's dwelling, over into one of the basement rooms of the Observatory, a distance of one hundred feet. These pipes are then flared out, so as to present a large cooling surface; after which they are united into one again, through which the water, being now cooled, returns of its own accord to the caldron. Thus, cool water is returning all the time, and flowing in at the bottom of the caldron, while hot water is continually flowing out at the top. The ventilation of the Observatory is so arranged that the circulation of the atmosphere through it is led from this basement room, where the pipes are, to all parts of the building; and in the process of this circulation, the warmth conveyed by the water to the basement, is taken thence by the air, and distributed all over the rooms. Now, to compare small things with great, we have, in the warm waters which are confined in the Gulf of Mexico, just such a heating apparatus for Great Britain, the North Atlantic, and Western Europe. The furnace is the torrid zone; the Mexican Gulf arid Caribbean Sea are the caldrons; the Gulf Stream is the conducting-pipe. From the Grand Banks of New Foundland to the shores of Europe is the basement—the hot-air chambers—in which this pipe is flared out so as to present a large cooling surface. Here the circulation of the atmosphere is arranged by nature, and it is such that the warmth conveyed into this warm-air chamber of mid-ocean is taken up by the genial west winds, and dispensed in the most benign manner, throughout Great Britain and the west of Europe. The maximum temperature of the water-heated air-chamber of the Observatory, is about 90°. The maximum temperature of the Gulf Stream is 86°, or about 9° in excess of the ocean temperature due the latitude. Increasing its latitude, 10°, it loses but 2° of temperature; and after having run three thousand miles toward the north, it still preserves, even in winter, the heat of summer.  With this temperature it crosses the 40th degree of North latitude, and there, overflowing its liquid banks, it spreads itself out for thousands of square leagues over the cold waters around, and covers the ocean with a mantle of warmth that serves so much to mitigate in Europe, the rigors of winter. Moving now slowly, but dispensing its genial influences more freely, it finally meets the British Islands. By these it is divided, one part going into the polar basin of Spitzbergen, the other entering the Bay of Biscay, but each with a warmth considerably above the ocean temperature. Such an immense volume of heated water cannot fail to carry with it beyond the seas a mild and moist atmosphere. And this it is which so much softens climates there. We know not, except approximately in one or two places, what the depth or the under temperature of the Gulf Stream may be; but assuming the temperature and velocity, at the depth of two hundred fathoms to be those of the surface, and taking the well-known difference between the capacity of air, and of water for specific heat as the argument, a simple calculation will show that the quantity of heat discharged over the Atlantic from the waters of the Gulf Stream in a winter's day would be sufficient to raise the whole column of atmosphere that rests upon France, and the British Islands from the freezing-point to summer heat. Every west wind that blows, crosses the stream on its way to Europe, and carries with it a portion of this heat to temper there the northern winds of winter. It is the influence of this stream upon climates, that makes Erin the “Emerald Isle of the sea,” and that clothes the shores of Albion in evergreen robes; while in the same latitude on this side, the coasts of Labrador are fast bound in fetters of ice.To pursue Captain Maury's theory a little farther: the flow of tepid waters does not cease at the Bay of Biscay, but continues along the coasts of Spain and Portugal, thence along the coast of Africa, past Madeira and the Canaries, to the Cape de Verdes; where it joins the great equatorial current flowing westward, with which it returns again into the Gulf of Mexico. The Sumter, being between Madeira and the coast of Spain, was within its influence. One word before I part with my friend Maury. In common with thousands of mariners all  over the world, I owe him a debt of gratitude, for his gigantic labors in the scientific fields of our profession; for the sailor may claim the philosophy of the seas as a part of his profession. A knowledge of the winds and the waves, and the laws which govern their motions is as necessary to the seaman as is the art of handling his ship, and to no man so much as to Maury is he indebted for a knowledge of these laws. Other distinguished co-laborers, as Reid, Redfield, Espy, have contributed to the science, but none in so eminent a degree. They dealt in specialties—as, for instance, the storm—but he has grasped the whole science of meteorology—dealing as well in the meteorology of the water, if I may use the expression, as in that of the atmosphere. A Tennesseean by birth, he did not hesitate when the hour came, ‘that tried men's souls.’ Poor, and with a large family, he gave up the comfortable position of Superintendent of the National Observatory, which he held under the Federal Government, and cast his fortunes with the people of his State. He had not the courage to be a traitor, and sell himself for gold. The State of Tennessee gave him birth; she carried him into the Federal Union, and she brought him out of it. Scarcely any man who withdrew from the old service has been so vindictively, and furiously assailed as Maury. The nationalists of the North,—and I mean by nationalists, the whole body of the Northern people, who ignored the rights of the States, and claimed that the Federal Government was paramount,—had taken especial pride in Maury and his labors. He, as well as the country at large, belonged to them. They petted and caressed him, and pitted him against the philosophers of the world, with true Yankee conceit. They had the biggest country, and the cleverest men in the world, and Maury was one of these. But Maury, resisting all these blandishments, showed, to their horror, when the hour of trial came, that he was a Southern gentleman, and not a Puritan. The change of sentiment was instantaneous and ludicrous. Their self-conceit had received an awful blow, and there is no wound so damaging as that which has been given to self-conceit. Almost everything else may be forgiven, but this never can. Maury became  at once a ‘rebel’ and a ‘traitor,’ and everything else that was vile. He was not even a philosopher any longer, but a bumbug and a cheat. In science, as in other pursuits, there are rivalries and jealousies. The writer of these pages, having been stationed at the seat of the Federal Government for a year or two preceding the war, was witness of some of the rivalries and jealousies of Maury, on the part of certain small philosophers, who thought the world had not done justice to themselves. These now opened upon the dethroned monarch of the seas, as live asses will kick at dead lions, and there was no end to the partisan abuse that was heaped upon the late Chief of the National Observatory. Maury had been a Federal naval officer, as well as philosopher, and some of his late confreres of the Federal service, who, in former years, had picked up intellectual crumbs from the table of the philosopher, and were content to move in orbits at a very respectful distance from him; now, raised by capricious fortune to place, joined in the malignant outcry against him. Philosopher of the Seas! Thou mayest afford to smile at these vain attempts to humble thee. Science, which can never be appreciated by small natures, has no nationality. Thou art a citizen of the world, and thy historic fame does not depend upon the vile traducers of whom I have spoken. These creatures, in the course of a few short years, will rot in unknown graves; thy fame will be immortal! Thou hast revealed to us the secrets of the depths of the ocean, traced its currents, discoursed to us of its storms and its calms, and taught us which of its roads to travel, and which to avoid. Every mariner, for countless ages to come, as he takes down his chart, to shape his course across the seas, will think of thee! He will think of thee as he casts his lead into the deep sea; he will think of thee, as he draws a bucket of water from it, to examine its animalculae; he will think of thee as he sees the storm gathering thick and ominous; he will think of thee as he approaches the calm-belts, and especially the calm-belt of the equator, with its mysterious cloud-ring; he will think of thee as he is scudding before the ‘brave west winds’ of the Southern hemisphere; in short, there is no phenomenon of the sea that will not recall to him thine image.  This is the living monument which thou hast constructed for thyself, and which all the rage of the Puritan cannot shake. December 31st.—The last day of the year, as though it would atone to us for some of the bad weather its previous days had given us, is charming. There is not a cloud, as big as a man's hat, anywhere to be seen, and the air is so elastic that it is a positive pleasure to breathe it. The temperature is just cool enough to be comfortable, though the wind is from the north. At daylight, a couple of sail were reported from aloft, but, as they were at a great distance, and out of our course, we did not chase. Indeed, we have become quite discouraged since our experience of yesterday. A third sail was seen at noon, also at a great distance. These are probably the laggards of the great Mediterranean wind-bound fleet. We observed, to-day, in latitude 35° 22′; the longitude being 16° 27′. It becoming quite calm at eight P. M., I put the ship under steam; being about 490 miles from Cadiz. January 1st, 1862.—Nearly calm; wind light from the south-west, and sky partially overcast. The sea is smooth, and we are making nine knots, the hour. We made an excellent run during the past night, and are approaching the Spanish coast very rapidly. Nothing seen during the day. At nine P. M. a sail passed us, a gleam of whose light we caught for a moment in the darkness. The light being lost almost as soon as seen, we did not attempt to chase. Latitude 35° 53′; longitude 13° 14′. On the next day we overhauled a French, and a Spanish ship. It had been my intention, when leaving Martinique, to cruise a few days off Cadiz, before entering the port, and for this purpose I had reserved a three days supply of fuel; but, unfortunately, the day before our arrival we took another gale of wind, which shook us so severely, that the ship's leak increased very rapidly; the engineer reporting that it was as much as he could do to keep her free, with the bilge pumps, under short steam. The leak was evidently through the sleeve of the propeller, and was becoming alarming. I therefore abandoned the idea of cruising, and ran directly for the land. Night set in before anything could be seen, but having every confidence in my chronometers, I ran without any hesitation  for the Light, although we had been forty-one days at sea, without testing our instruments by a sight of land. We made the light—a fine Fresnel, with a red flash—during the midwatch, and soon afterward got soundings. We now slowed down the engine, and ran in by the lead, until we judged ourselves four or five miles distant from the light, when we hove to. The next morning revealed Cadiz, fraught with so many ancient, and modern memories, in all its glory, though the weather was gloomy and the clouds dripping rain.
Fair Cadiz, rising o'er the dark blue sea!as Byron calls thee, thou art indeed lovely! with thy white Moresque-looking houses, and gayly curtained balconies, thy church-domes which carry us back in architecture a thousand years, and thy harbor thronged with shipping. Once the Gades of the Phoenician, now the Cadiz of the nineteenth century, thou art perhaps the only living city that can run thy record back so far into the past. We fired a gun, and hoisted a jack for a pilot, and one boarding us soon afterward, we steamed into the harbor. The Confederate States' flag was flying from our peak, and we could see that there were many curious telescopes turned upon us, as we passed successively the forts and the different quays lined with shipping. As the harbor opened upon us, a magnificent spectacle presented itself. On our left was the somewhat distant coast of Andalusia, whose name is synonymous with all that is lovely in scenery, or beautiful in woman. One almost fancies as he looks upon it, that he hears the amorous tinkle of the guitar, and inhales the fragrance of the orange grove. Seville is its chief city, and who has not read the couplet,
Quien no ha visto Sevillawhich may be rendered into the vernacular thus:
No ha visto maravilla,
He who hath not Seville seen,The landscape, still green in mid-winter, was dotted with villas and villages, all white, contrasting prettily with the groves in which they were embowered. Casting the eye forward, it  rested upon the picturesque hills of the far-famed wine district of Xeres, with its vineyards, wine-presses, and pack-mules. Some famous old wine estates were pointed out to us by the pilot. We ran through a fleet of shipping before reaching our anchorage off the main quay, the latter lined on both sides with market-boats; and as much more shipping lay beyond us. I was, indeed, quite surprised to find the harbor, which is spacious, so thronged. It spoke well for the reviving industry of Spain. With a little fancy one might imagine her still the mistress of the ‘Indies,’ and that these were her galleons come to pour the mineral treasures of half a world in her lap. All nations were represented, though the Spanish flag predominated. Wearing this flag there were many fine specimens of naval architecture—especially lines of steamships plying between Cadiz, the West Indies, and South America. A number of the merchant-ships of different nations hoisted their flags in honor of the Sumter as she passed; and one Yankee ship— there being three or four of them in the harbor—hoisted hers, as much as to say, ‘You see we are not afraid to show it.’
Hath not seen wonders, I ween.